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Shilling Weak As Import Demand Remains Mute On Account Of Coronavirus

The local currency hovered near the key level of 3700 during the week ending March6, 2020, oscillating in a narrow range, with on and off demand, mostly from corporate players as import demand remained muted on account of Coronavirus. Trading was in the range of 3790/3715. In the money markets, overnight funds were priced at 6% while one week held at 9%.

In the fixed income segment, there was primary auction. Trading activity was confined to the secondary market.

In the regional currencies, the Kenya shilling was on the back foot as commercial banks were seen building dollar positions following the Central Bank announcement of a dollar purchase plan of 100 million per month to build foreign reserves. This triggered the currency to depreciate, hitting 102.50/70 level.

In the global markets, the US dollar fell amid expectations that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates further after slashing them by 50 basis points in an emergency move to shield the economy from the effects of the Coronavirus.

Going forward, markets priced another 50 basis points at the upcoming March 18-19 meeting and another 25 bps for April.
Globally, it is expected that the major Central Banks will follow suit and remain aggressive to mitigate effects of the epidemic.

“Outlook for the shilling indicates a range bound unit, with on and off demand mainly driven by cyclical dividend payments by multi nationals, with less pressure expected from the import side as activity remains curtailed due to China epidemic,” says Stephen Kaboyo, an analyst and Managing Director at Alpha Capital Partners.

Taddewo William Senyonyi
William is a seasoned business and finance journalist. He is also an agripreneur and a coffee enthusiast.

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