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Kenyan Shilling Fluctuates Ahead of Interest Rate Meeting

March 6 (Bloomberg) -- Kenya’s currency swung between gains and losses in a narrow range as investors awaited the decision of a central bank policy meeting on interest rates.

The currency of East Africa’s largest economy strengthened by less than 0.1 percent to 83.30 per dollar as of 2:55 p.m. in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital. The currency depreciated as much as 0.1 percent earlier.

“It is trading in range as the market takes a wait-and-see approach,” Peter Mutuku, a currency dealer with Bank of Africa Kenya Ltd., said by phone from Nairobi today. “No one wants to be caught with huge positions, short or long, either way.”

Kenya’s central has left its key lending rate at a record 18 percent this year, after raising it six times last year to help stem the shilling’s depreciation and curb inflation. Higher interest rates have helped the shilling strengthen 28 percent against the dollar, from a record low of 106.75 on Oct. 11.

Six out of nine economists in a Bloomberg survey predicted the key lending rate will remain unchanged at today’s meeting, while the rest forecast a one percentage point reduction. The rate decision is expected at around 5 p.m.

The Tanzanian currency remained unchanged for an eighth day at 1,600 per dollar. Uganda’s shilling strengthened for the first time in five days, appreciating 0.7 percent to 2,537.5 per dollar.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah McGregor in Nairobi at smcgregor5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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