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Markets

Kenyan shilling firms and shares extend rally

The Kenyan shilling firmed on Friday as banks unwound their dollar positions before the weekend, but traders said importers buying the U.S. currency could put pressure on the shilling in the days ahead.
The Kenyan shilling firmed on Friday as banks unwound their dollar positions before the weekend, but traders said importers buying the U.S. currency could put pressure on the shilling in the days ahead. 

The Kenyan shilling firmed on Friday as banks unwound their dollar positions before the weekend, but traders said importers buying the U.S. currency could put pressure on the shilling in the days ahead.

Commercial banks posted the shilling at 86.90/87.10 to the dollar at the 1300 GMT market close, stronger than Thursday's close of 87.10/30.

"But we still expect it to weaken further as end-month (dollar) demand comes in from next week," said a trader at one commercial bank.

The shilling has faced headwinds this month from lower yields on local government securities and unrest in Egypt, one of the biggest buyers of Kenyan tea. Tea is the country's top foreign exchange earner.

It got some support early this week from the central bank's selling of an unspecified amount of dollars on Monday and Tuesday, to push it up from a five-month low of 87.55/75.

In the stock market, the main NSE-20 Share Index inched up for the ninth straight session, up 0.1 percent to close at 4,807.53 points, while the All Share Index added 0.2 percent to 123.70 points.

Faith Atiti, an analyst at NIC Securities, said investors were optimistic of strong half-year earnings after a few listed firms posted impressive results.

Mortgage lender Housing Finance rose 3.8 per cent to 27 shillings a share after it posted a 60 percent jump in pretax profit late on Thursday. ]

In the secondary bonds market, debt worth Sh601 million ($6.90 million) was traded, down from Sh3 billion on Thursday.

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