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WEEKAHEAD-Zambia's kwacha likely to remain under pressure on low hard currency supply
September 14, 2017 / 2:35 PM / 2 months ago

WEEKAHEAD-Zambia's kwacha likely to remain under pressure on low hard currency supply

LUSAKA, Sept 14 (Reuters) - The Zambian kwacha is expected to remain under pressure next week on the back of low hard currency supply while the Ugandan shilling is likely to strengthen as demand for cash from imports subsides.

ZAMBIA

The kwacha is expected to remain under pressure against the dollar next week due to scant supply of hard currency in the market.

At 1100 GMT on Thursday, commercial banks quoted the currency of Africa’s No.2 copper producer at 9.3700 per dollar from 9.1000 a week ago.

“It is likely to remain under pressure because there is very limited supply of dollars,” independent financial analyst Maambo Hamaundu said.

UGANDA

The Ugandan shilling is seen trading on a firm footing, mainly underpinned by sagging demand for hard currency from merchandise importers.

At 1123 GMT commercial banks quoted the shilling at 3,595/3,605, unchanged from last Thursday’s close.

“Importer activity has largely been flat...that’s likely to remain the case until probably around early November,” said a trader at a leading commercial bank. He said the shilling would trade at around the key level 3,600 in the coming days.

NIGERIA

The Nigerian naira is seen trading at between 359 and 362 against the U.S. currency next week boosted by the level of dollar liquidity on the market, traders said.

The local currency, which has at least five different rates of exchange to the dollar, was quoted 360 for exchange bureaus, a rate which the central bank has maintained for retail currency outlets for more than three months.

The naira was quoted weaker at 367 on the black market on Thursday, mirroring the rate at which investors trade. However, the currency was stuck at 306 on the official market.

“The central bank has been gradually moving its rate but I don’t think they are under pressure to converge the rates,” one trader said. “The bank would probably narrow the spreads but not a total convergence.”

The central bank held a treasury bill auction on Wednesday whose outcome could boost liquidity on the currency market depending on the level of foreign participation. Results of the auction were expected on Thursday.

KENYA

Kenya’s shilling was expected to hold steady, with a likelihood of weakening due to a pick-up in importer demand as the month starts winding down.

Commercial banks quoted the shilling at 102.70/90 to the dollar, compared with last Thursday’s close of 103.10/20.

“The shilling should lose some ground as we head towards the end of the month, but it will need some good demand to break 103.00,” a senior trader at one commercial bank said.

GHANA

Ghana’s cedi could remain flat on central bank dollar sales, helped by forex inflows from bond buyers to offset increasing demand by local firms settling their end-of-quarter bills, an analyst said.

The local unit has been fairly steady in recent weeks on news of an extension of Ghana’s $918 million credit programme and the raising of bank’s minimum capital requirement by the central bank. It was trading at 4.4200 to the greenback on Thursday compared to 4.4180 a week ago.

Positive market sentiments from the IMF extension still remained to support a steady trade of the cedi for another week, said Biggles Joseph Amponsah of the Accra-based Dortis Research.

TANZANIA

The Tanzanian shilling is seen holding steady against the dollar in the days ahead, helped by expected month-end inflows from corporates.

Commercial banks quoted the shilling at 2,240/2,250 to the dollar on Thursday, compared to 2,244/2,247 a week ago.

“We expect the shilling to trade in the same levels next week, unless there is a spike in demand for dollars from oil importers,” said a trader at Commercial Bank of Africa Tanzania. (Reporting by Chris Mfula, Elias Biryabarema, George Obulutsa, Chijioke Ohuocha, Kwasi Kpodo, Fumbuka Ng‘wanakilala; Compiled by Tanisha Heiberg)

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