Kenyan shares hit by global sell-off, shilling steady

Nairobi Securities Exchange
Nairobi Securities Exchange

Kenya’s main share index slid 1.57 percent on Friday as market concerns over turmoil in China’s financial markets spread. The shilling was barely moved.

The NSE-20 index shed 62 points to close at 3,940.42 points as foreign investors sold their shares in leading firms like bank group KCB.

“It was a bit of contagion. The market was caught up in the international events,” said Aly Khan Satchu, an independent trader and analyst.

Like other emerging and frontier markets, the Kenyan bourse finished down last year, with the benchmark index losing 20 percent, as investors fled to safety ahead of the interest rate increase by the U.S. Federal reserve.

On the currency market, the shilling closed at 102.20/30, barely changed from Thursday’s closing rate of 102.15/25.

Traders said they had turned their attention to the central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting on Jan. 20 to see what would happen to the main lending rate, now set at 11.50 percent.

“Nothing will happen until the MPC on 20th,” said a trader with a commercial bank. In the debt market, bonds worth 227 million shillings were traded, up from the previous day’s volume of 222 million shillings.

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