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Top Banker Says Kenya Shilling’s Weakening Has Peaked

(Bloomberg) — The head of Kenya’s largest bank by market value said the depreciation of the East African country’s currency, which has weakened almost 20% against the dollar this year, has peaked.

“We seem to have reached the peak,” Equity Group Holdings Plc Chief Executive Officer James Mwangi said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “We have seen that the depreciation of the Kenyan shilling has stepped down, not as aggressive as it was. But it is still at an elevated level.”

The rate at which Kenya’s shilling lost value to the dollar slowed for the third consecutive month in November, as the gap between the currency’s spot rate and fair value narrows. The shilling is projected to trade at 155-160 per dollar by year-end, according to two economists interviewed by Bloomberg. 

The currency of Eastern Africa’s second-largest economy weakened 1.58% in November, compared with 1.79% in August, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Still, the shilling is poised for its worst year since 2008. 

“The question we are asking ourselves, was it fundamentally driven or was it sentiment?” Mwangi said. 

Yields on Eurobonds fell in the last two weeks, which suggests sentiment was driving the currency, he said. 

Source: BNN Bloomberg

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