Kenya: Kenyan shilling soars to 33-month high against the U.S. dollar
April 20, 2018
The Kenyan shilling (KES) shot up in value against the U.S. dollar amid renewed political stability, which has led to a resurgence in strong capital inflows. On 20 April, the shilling closed the day at 100.1 KES per USD, which represented a 0.7% appreciation over the same day of the previous month and marked the highest value since July 2015. As of that date, the shilling had gained 2.6% of its value year-to-date and had risen 2.8% compared to the same day last year.
A return to political stability following a drawn-out election saga set in motion by last year’s disputed election, along with the end of a crippling drought, has spurred upbeat economic data and improved sentiment, leading in turn to a greater inflow of capital and propelling the shilling up. The pact signed in February between President Uhuru Kenyatta and election runner-up Raila Odinga seems to be helping improve the marred business climate and reassuring investors. Furthermore, the government’s commitment to modify or even entirely scrap the cap on commercial bank lending rates introduced in 2016, which has led to private credit growth tumbling to all-time lows and stymied credit to small- and medium-sized enterprises, is also pushing the growth outlook to the upside, strengthening confidence among investors.
Author: Nihad Ahmed, Economist