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Kenyan shilling hits 9-month high against U.S. dollar

NAIROBI, KENYA | Xinhua | The Kenyan shilling strengthened against major world currencies, hitting a nine-month high against the U.S. dollar Wednesday.

The Central Bank of Kenya placed the shilling against the dollar at 138.8, its highest level since the currency started to decline in June last year.

The shilling fell to a low of 160.23 to the dollar in January before clawing back gains to stand at Wednesday’s level, a 13 percent gain.

The rise in the shilling comes as a major relief to Kenyan consumers who have been hit by a surge in inflation as imports become more expensive.

The East African nation’s inflation stood at 6.3 percent in February, down from 6.9 percent in January.

The strengthening of the shilling has been attributed to an increase in foreign reserves, which stood at 6.9 billion dollars (3.7 months of import cover) on March 8, with the central bank noting that they are adequate to support the local currency. ■

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