Why Kenya Shilling is Volatile Against Dollar Despite Gains

The Kenya Shilling has strengthened against the US Dollar, rebounding from a 1% decline last Friday.

Data from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) shows the exchange rate stood at 143.8 units per dollar on Monday.

This is against 144 units at the end of the previous week—a modest 0.1% increase in value.

The local currency has exhibited volatility relative to the greenback since Kenya’s re-entry into the international credit markets.

Such fluctuations in the exchange rate over a short period are indicative of currency pair volatility.

If the US Dollar continues to fluctuate significantly against the Kenya Shilling, it would be classified as currency pair volatility.

What Causes Currency Volatility?


Inflation and demand through buying and selling are among key factors which affect currency volatility.

Shortages of fuel, labour, or raw materials can cause production to slow down.

It means that prices for goods and services are likely to rise for consumers. This is known as Cost-pull inflation.


When a particular currency comes into high demand among traders, there is less of that currency in circulation as traders purchase it en-masse.

Also Read: Kenya Shilling Ends Week 1% Down Against US Dollar

When forex traders buy a currency at high enough rates, it can have an impact on those hoping to borrow money in that country.

Interest rates of loans and mortgages may rise for local people, due to the value of the currency being driven up by trading.

Although the currency itself is stronger on the global forex market, higher exchange rates can also affect the local population.

How Central Bank Steps In

In this case, the Central Bank intervenes to smooth out volatility when there is no preferred level for the currency.

On February 15 the shilling was up almost 8% when it bid as strong as 139 units to the dollar.

This was fuelled by foreign inflows into domestic debt and the resolution of a $2 billion Eurobond maturing in June.

CBK intervened and the shilling gave back some gains to bid at 141.

“The Central Bank showed up to buy, so I think they don’t want too much volatility.

If they hadn’t come in we would probably be looking at levels of maybe 130 because everybody knows offshore inflows are coming,” said one trader who spoke to Reuters.

“That is a strong signal that they want the currency to stabilise. It has to be gradual.”

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Lawrence Baraza

Lawrence Baraza is a dynamic journalist currently overseeing content at Metropol TV Digital. With a keen focus on business news and analytics, Lawrence guides the platform in delivering insightful, data-driven content that empowers its audience to make informed decisions. Lawrence’s commitment to quality and his ability to anticipate market trends make him a key figure in the digital media landscape. His work continues to shape the way business news is consumed, making a significant impact in the field.

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