Kenyan shilling steady as main share index falls

The Kenyan shilling barely moved on Tuesday, with traders expecting the local currency to stay in a tight range against the dollar in the build-up to the traditionally quiet Christmas season.

The benchmark share index finished lower. At the 1330 GMT close of trade, commercial banks posted the shilling at 102.10/20, little changed from Monday’s closing rate of 102.20/30.

“Demand and supply is equally matched today,” one Nairobi-based trader said.

The shilling has been stuck in a narrow band of 102.00-102.50 for weeks as importer dollar demand keeps it from appreciating beyond 102.00 and the prospect of central bank intervention keeps it from weakening past 102.50.

In the stock market, the main NSE20 share index lost nearly 1 percent to close at 3,978.17 points, giving up most of its previous day’s gains.

Standard Chartered Kenya, which issued a profit warning for the year last week, led the losses, falling just over 4 percent to close at 209.00 shillings per share.

British American Tobacco Kenya, which was linked to claims of bribery in the British television programme Panorama on Monday, inched down by just 1 shilling to close at 784 shillings per share.

Traders said it would take the next few trading sessions for them to tell the full extent of the impact of the claims made in Panorama on the shares.

In the debt market, bonds worth 2.2 billion shillings ($21.55 million) were trade, up from the previous day’s volume of 1.2 billion shillings.

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