March 20, 2020 / 2:08 PM / 8 days ago

UPDATE 1-Kenya central bank sells dollars after shilling slides to near record low

 (Updates with central bank's intervention)
    NAIROBI, March 20 (Reuters) - The Kenyan shilling
dropped to a new four and a half year low on Friday due to
persistent worries about the impact of the coronavirus outbreak
on export earnings, prompting the central bank to sell dollars
to limit the losses, traders said. 
    At the 1330 GMT close of the market, commercial banks quoted
the shilling at 106.10/30 to the dollar, down from 105.50/70 at
Thursday's close and at a new low since September 2015.
    "They came in the market to try and control this slide,"
said a senior trader at one commercial bank.
    The shilling touched an intra-day low of 106.50/70 earlier
on Friday, a touch shy of its record low of 106.60/70 hit on
Oct.12, 2011, according to Refinitiv data.
    "There is a lack of inflows, everybody is holding back onto
their dollars," a second senior currency trader from a
commercial bank said.
    The currency of East Africa's biggest economy tumbled to a
four and a half year low in Thursday's session as turmoil in
global financial markets spilled over into frontier economies.
 
    The lock downs in Europe, which is Kenya's biggest export
markets for produce like flowers and a top source of tourists,
are expected to curb its hard currency earnings temporarily.
    Last Friday, Kenya confirmed its first case of the
coronavirus, causing the shilling to weaken. The cases have
since jumped to seven. 
    The government has closed down schools indefinitely,
restricted large public gatherings and limited entry into Kenya
for people from countries with high cases of the virus.
    The central bank is due to hold its rate-setting meeting on
Monday.
    
               ...........................Shilling spot rates
                  .....................Shilling forward rates
                           .......................Cross rates
         ..................................Local contributors
           .......................Central Bank of Kenya Index
          .....................Kenyan Bonds contributor pages
                          ...............Treasury bill yields
        ..................Central bank open market operations
        .........................Horizontal repo transactions
         ,       ................Daily interbank lending rate
              .............................Kenya Bond pricing
          .................................NSE-20 Share Index
          .................................NSE-25 Share Index
         .................................NSE All Share Index
             ...........................FT NSE Kenya 15 Index
             .......................... FT NSE Kenya 25 Index
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 (Reporting by John Ndiso and Duncan Miriri;
Editing by George Obulutsa)
  
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