Kenya shilling gains against dollar amid election fever

Tuesday September 12 2017

Shilling holds firm even as fears of the impact

Shilling holds firm even as fears of the impact of the election on the economy intensify. FILE GRAPHIC | NMG 

By MARYANNE GICOBI
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The Kenya shilling last week strengthened against the dollar in more than five months, fending off a swing that had weakened it after the Supreme Court nullified President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election.

According to data from commercial banks, the shilling hit a high of 102.65/75 per dollar in the first couple of hours of trading, after a hard currency inflows caused banks to reduce their dollar holdings.

Before hitting the highs, the  Kenyan shilling was having a difference of 20 cents between bid and offered prices for the currency, which is double the usual gap attributed to lingering volatility in the country after the court ruling.

It was trading at 103.15/35 to the greenback from 103.20/40, where it had weakened by 0.4 per cent immediately after the court’s ruling was announced.

The Supreme Court backed a petition brought by opposition leader Raila Odinga and called for fresh elections within 60 days.

Before the court ruling, the shilling was doing well that it had hit a three-month high against the dollar, gaining ground on easing of political heat, after National Super Alliance coalition decided to fight their election protest through the courts.

Trading at Nairobi Securities Exchange also picked last week with market capitalisation increasing by Ksh23 billion ($222.9 million ) to Ksh2.372 trillion ($22,995,662,360), reversing some of the losses recorded by investors in the previous trading sessions preceding the announcement by the Supreme Court.

The NSE had lost a total of Ksh130 billion ($1.26 billion) on the day of the ruling, which was attributed to panic selling by some investors and trading had to be briefly paused after shares fell by the 10 per cent limit, following the Supreme Court’s which has subjected the country to another round of campaign period.

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