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Kenyan Shilling Weakens as Companies Ramp-Up Output After Vote

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April 12 (Bloomberg) -- Kenya’s shilling retreated for the first time in three days against the dollar as businesses prepared to ramp up operations following the peaceful conclusion to presidential elections.

The currency of East Africa’s biggest economy weakened as much as 0.4 percent and traded 0.1 percent lower at 84.05 per dollar by 5:38 p.m. in Nairobi, the capital, paring its gain this week to 0.9 percent.

Uhuru Kenyatta was sworn in as president on April 9, capping a period that saw economic activity slow down as investors waited to see the outcome of a challenge to his victory by Raila Odinga, who lost the March 4 vote. Kenya’s Supreme Court upheld Kenyatta’s win, allowing him to take over from retiring Mwai Kibaki, who started his term in 2007 after an election marred by clashes that led to 1,100 deaths.

“There is a pick up in demand from corporates from sectors like energy,” Duncan Kinuthia, head of trading at Nairobi-based Commercial Bank of Africa Ltd., said by phone. “Things are returning to normal, and now corporates think levels are not bad to start buying some dollars.”

In his inaugural speech, Kenyatta pledged to boost businesses and improve infrastructure including roads and railways.

“The shilling is expected to perform well on positive political sentiments, after the many promises made by President Kenyatta on improving the economy,” Sameer Lagadia, head of trading at Nairobi-based Diamond Trust Bank Ltd., said by phone.

Uganda’s currency appreciated for a fourth day, adding 0.4 percent to 2,541 per dollar. The Tanzanian shilling strengthened 0.1 percent to 1,617.18.

To contact the reporter on this story: David Malingha Doya in Nairobi at dmalingha@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nasreen Seria at nseria@bloomberg.net