WEAKENING

Kenyan shilling hammered by the impact of coronavirus

There is a lack of inflows, everybody is holding back onto their dollars

In Summary

•The currency of East Africa's biggest economy tumbled to a four and a half year low in Thursday's session

• Lock downs in Europe are expected to curb its hard currency earnings temporarily

MINTED: Kenya Shilling coins are scarce.Photo/Elkana Jacob
MINTED: Kenya Shilling coins are scarce.Photo/Elkana Jacob

The Kenyan shilling fell to a new four and a half year low on Friday, extending its weakening streak due to persistent worries about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on export earnings.

At 0623 GMT, commercial banks quoted the shilling at 105.70/90 per dollar, a fresh low since late 2015, and down from 105.50/70 at Thursday's close.

"There is a lack of inflows, everybody is holding back onto their dollars," said a senior currency trader from a commercial bank.

The currency of East Africa's biggest economy tumbled to a four and a half year low in Thursday's session as turmoil in global financial markets spread spilled over into frontier economies.

The lock downs in Europe, which is Kenya's biggest export market for produce like flowers in Europe and source of tourists, are expected to curb its hard currency earnings temporarily.

Last Friday, Kenya confirmed its first case of the coronavirus, causing the shilling to weaken.

The cases have since jumped to seven. The government has closed down schools indefinitely, restricted large public gatherings and limited entry into Kenya for people from countries with high cases of the virus.