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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
Kenya shilling braves negative political climate   

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The Kenya shilling on Tuesday remained largely unchanged against the U.S. dollar despite rising political tension gripping the East African nation.

The shilling traded at an average of 103.2 against the greenback, a position it stood on Monday after strengthening slightly, even as protests for and against electoral reforms ahead of the Oct. 26 repeat elections rocked the capital Nairobi.

The Central Bank on Tuesday quoted the local currency to the dollar at 103.27, from the previous day’s 103.26.

On the other hand, commercial banks placed the value of the shilling against the dollar at between 103.25 and 103.45 as traders in the institutions noted increased dollar demand from importers as the month nears the end.

The shilling also strengthened against the British Pound, albeit marginally, closing Tuesday at 139.18, from 139.47 in the previous session.

The Kenya shilling depreciated against the dollar by 0.4 percent last week to close at 103.3, from 102.9 of the previous week, due to high dollar demand from oil importers and manufacturers amidst heightened political activity.

Despite the negative political environment, analysts noted that the shilling would remain relatively stable to the dollar in the short-term, supported by both the weakening of the dollar on the global markets and the central bank’s activity on the money market amid sufficient forex reserves, currently at 7.5 billion dollars.

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EARLIER REPORT:

Turnover surges on Kenya’s bourse despite rising political temperature

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Equity turnover at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) rose considerably on Tuesday, lifted by vibrant trading of Kenya’s leading telecom operator Safaricom.

Some 36 million shares worth 9 million U.S. dollars were traded at the securities market, up from 11 million shares worth 2.5 million in Monday’s session, as the market braved rising political temperatures in the country.

Opposition National Super Alliance and ruling Jubilee Party supporters on Tuesday protested in the capital Nairobi against and for electoral reforms respectively ahead of the Oct. 26 repeat polls, leading to disruption of business.

Safaricom traded 16 million shares at a new high of 0.26 dollars to top the list of most traded stocks. On Monday, the telecom firm moved 7 million shares.

Following in the positive direction was Britam, which moved 14 million shares at an unchanged price of 0.14 dollars.

Kenya Commercial Bank and Cooperative Bank came third and fourth respectively after trading 2 million and 1 million shares but at declined prices. Insurance firm KNRE closed the list of most traded stocks by moving 565, 800 shares.

The NSE 20 Share Index was down to 3,733.04 points from 3,750.35 in the previous session while the NSE All Share Index (NASI) close at 166.02 from 165.72 points.

The NSE 25 Share Index, on the other hand, ended on a low of 4,331.65, down from 4,335.54

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