March 30 (Bloomberg) -- Kenya’s shilling weakened the most in seven weeks on increased dollar demand by oil importers seeking to place orders for the new month.
The currency of East Africa’s biggest economy depreciated as much as 1 percent to 83.24 per dollar and traded 0.8 percent weaker at 83.11 as of 11:28 a.m. in Nairobi. A close at this level would be the biggest slide since Feb 9.
“The shilling is under pressure as buyers from the energy sector continue to accumulate dollars ahead of the new month for placement of their orders,” Duncan Kinuthia, a dealer at Nairobi-based Commercial Bank of Africa Ltd., said in a phone interview today.
KenolKobil Ltd. won a tender to supply Kenya Petroleum Refineries Ltd. with a single cargo of 610,000 barrels of Murban crude oil in May, it said in an e-mailed statement on March 22.
The inflation rate declined for a fourth month to 15.61 percent in March from 16.69 percent in the previous month, the Nairobi-based Kenya National Bureau of Statistics said in an e-mailed statement today. The central bank left its key lending rate at a record high of 18 percent for a third month after increasing it six times last year to keep the inflation rate under check and support the shilling. The Kenyan currency has gained 28 percent since reaching a record low in October, the best performer among more than 170 currencies tracked by Bloomberg.
The bank’s monetary policy committee will meet on April 4.
Tanzania’s shilling weakened 0.5 percent to 1,593.5 per dollar, the biggest drop in more than two months. The Ugandan shilling remained unchanged at 2,515 per dollar. The central bank monetary policy committee will announce its benchmark rate today.
-- Editors: Peter Branton, Ash Kumar
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