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Markets

Kenya shilling steady vs dollar, eyes on central bank

NAIROBI: The Kenyan shilling traded flat against the dollar on Friday and, with turnover thin, some traders said moves b
13 Jan 2012

shillingNAIROBI: The Kenyan shilling traded flat against the dollar on Friday and, with turnover thin, some traders said moves by the central bank to mop up liquidity would be a key influence on the local currency's direction.

Keen to haul double-digit inflation back towards single figures and maintain a stable currency, the Central Bank of Kenya has this year hoovered up liquidity and sold hard currency, preventing a steeper fall in the shilling.

"Any activity from central bank could determine which direction the shilling takes. At the moment there is little action in the market," said Duncan Kinuthia, head of trading at Commercial Bank of Africa.

Traders said the shilling could trade in the 88.00-89.00 range against the dollar going into next week.

The regulator has been active in the market this year, mopping up 15.65 billion Kenyan shillings ($178.7 million)through repurchase agreements and injecting an unspecified amount of dollars directly to commercial banks, in a bid to stem the shilling's fall.

At 0727 GMT, commercial banks quoted the shilling at 87.55/75 against the dollar, the same level it closed at on Thursday.

The central bank was widely criticised last year for not taking decisive action to halt a plunge in the shilling, which hit a record low of 107 to the dollar in October.

Copyright Reuters, 2012