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Kenyan Shilling Reverse Losses as Central Bank Sells Dollars

May 31 (Bloomberg) -- Kenya’s shilling reversed two days of losses as the central bank was said to sell dollars in the market.

The currency of East Africa’s biggest economy appreciated as much as 1.6 percent to 85.35 per dollar and was trading 1.5 percent stronger at 85.45 by 12:52 p.m. in the capital, Nairobi.

The Central Bank of Kenya sold an unspecified amount of dollars in the money market today, Duncan Kinuthia, a dealer at Nairobi-based Commercial Bank of Africa Ltd., said in a phone interview today. The central bank declined to comment when contacted.

The shilling has weakened 3 percent this month, the biggest monthly decline since a 7 percent retreat in September. Kenya’s trade deficit widened in March as fuel imports rose to the highest in seven months, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics said yesterday on its website. The gap increased 22 percent from a year earlier to 80.3 billion shillings ($938 million).

The central bank has offered 5 billion shillings today for seven-day repurchase agreements, an official who declined to be identified in line with policy, said in a phone interview.

Ugandan shilling gained as much as 0.2 percent to 2,482.5 per dollar while Tanzania’s shilling appreciated by 0.1 percent to 1,589 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: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net

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