Kenya Shilling Weakens as Odinga Files Petition Against Kenyatta

Kenya’s shilling eased for a third day and headed for the longest losing streak in almost six weeks, after a petition was filed at the country’s Supreme Court challenging Uhuru Kenyatta’s presidential election win.

The currency of East Africa’s biggest economy dropped as much as 0.4 percent to 85.90 per dollar and was trading 0.3 percent lower at 85.83 by 1:15 p.m. in the capital, Nairobi, the stretch of losses since Feb. 6, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Outgoing Prime Minister Raila Odinga, whose dispute of the 2007 election triggered ethnic clashes that left more than 1,100 people dead, filed a petition challenging Kenyatta’s victory on March 16. The nation’s highest court has 14 days to rule.

“The shilling has slipped as the markets come off the optimism created after peaceful elections,” Christopher Muiga, a senior trader at Kenya Commercial Bank Ltd. (KNCB), said by phone. “The shilling may weaken to 86.50 in the coming days as markets take a wait-and-see attitude.”

The shilling rose 0.9 percent from the March 4 vote to March 13, when demand for dollars picked up after business resumed. Since then, the currency has slipped 0.4 percent.

The Central Bank of Kenya offered 8 billion shillings ($93 million) of bids for seven-day repurchase agreements and 14-day term auction deposits, an official, who asked not to be identified in line with policy, said by phone today. The bank uses the repos to reduce money supply and support the shilling.

Uganda’s currency weakened 0.2 percent to 2,635 per dollar, while the Tanzanian shilling gained 0.3 percent, the most on a closing basis since Feb. 27, rising to 1,622 per dollar.

To contact the reporter on this story: Johnstone Ole Turana in Nairobi at jturana@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Vernon Wessels at vwessels@bloomberg.net

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