Kenya Shilling depreciates against US Dollar to close at Ksh.109.8

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The Kenyan shilling depreciated by 0.2 percent against the US dollar to close the week at Ksh.109.8, from Ksh.109.5 recorded the previous week.

According to the Cytonn report, it was due to increased dollar demand from commodities and the energy sector importers which outweighed the supply of dollars from exporters.

On a Year-to-date basis, the shilling depreciated by 0.6 percent against the dollar, in comparison to the 7.7 percent depreciation recorded in 2020.

The shilling, however, is expected to remain under pressure for the remainder of 2021 as a result of rising uncertainties in the global market due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The uncertain operating environment has seen investors continue to prefer holding their investments in dollars and other hard currencies and commodities.

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The pressure on the shilling is expected to be cemented by the current account position which increased by 0.2 percentage points to 5.4 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the 12 months to June 2021 from 5.2 percent of GDP for a similar period in 2020.

Cytonn says the shilling’s probable depreciation will also result from the demand from energy importers as they beef up their hard currency positions.

On the other hand, the shilling is expected to be supported by the forex reserves, currently at Ksh.988.5 billion, equivalent to 5.5 months of import cover, which is above the statutory requirement of maintaining at least 4.0 months of import cover, and the EAC region’s convergence criteria of 4.5-months of import cover.

Improving diaspora remittances is also bound to support the Kenyan shilling.

The remittances increased by 14.7 percent year to year to Ksh.40.9 billion in July 2021, from Ksh.34.9 billion recorded over the same period in 2020. This has continued to cushion the shilling against further depreciation.

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Lawrence Baraza is a prolific writer with competencies in Digital Media, Print, and Broadcast. Baraza is also a Communication Practitioner currently spearheading Digital content on Metropol TV's Digital Desk.

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