Kenyan Shilling Plunges To Record Low On Coronavirus Fears
The Kenyan shilling fell to a record low against the U.S. dollar on March 20, dragged down by a high demand for greenbacks amid low inflows as fears mounted over the spread of coronavirus across Africa.
The shilling touched an all-time low of 106.50/70 to the dollar, a mark it last reached on Oct. 12, 2011, before recovering to trade at 106.10/30, according to Rifinitiv data, after the country’s central bank sold some of its dollar reserves.
Traders told Reuters that the central bank came into the market to sell undisclosed amount of greenbacks to control the shilling slide.
“There is a lack of inflows, everybody is holding back onto their dollars,” a second senior currency trader from a commercial bank told Reuters.
Kenya, East Africa’s largest economy, has reported seven cases of COVID-19 infections, most of them imported.
It has imposed travel restrictions and other internal measures like closing schools and banning public events to try and stem the spread of the disease, which originated in Wuhan, China in December.
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