NAIROBI, May 19 (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan shilling held firm against the U.S. dollar Friday, closing the week unchanged amid decline in dollar demand from importers.
The shilling stood unchanged at 103.34 against the dollar, as quoted by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), the same level it ended Thursday.
Commercial banks, however, quoted the shilling at between 103.3 and 103.5 to the dollar, with traders noting dollar demand from food importers had levelled.
Kenya in the last few days has been importing sugar, maize and oil in bulk, resulting to marginal fall of the shilling due to increased dollar demands.
The government has ratified the importation of 400,000 tonnes of sugar in the next three weeks to meet rising demand. On the other hand, the government at the beginning of this month allowed traders to bring in duty free maize, with 350,000 tonnes coming in end of last week, with more expected.
As with the dollar, the shilling also remained firm against the British pound, closing Friday at 133.75.
Analysts, however, noted that the shilling would continue to face more pressure due to the huge imports.
"But with the current forex reserve level, currently at 8.3 billion dollars (equivalent to 5.5 months of import cover), we believe the CBK will be able to support the shilling," said Cytonn, a Nairobi-based investment firm. Enditem