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Kenyan currency hits all-time low against the dollar

Kenya’s currency hit an all-time low of 150 shillings to the dollar on Monday, worsening the economic situation in the heavily indebted east African country plagued by inflation, according to central bank data.

The depreciation of the Kenyan shilling has accelerated over the past year, losing almost 24% of its value against the dollar.

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According to the Central Bank of Kenya, a dollar was selling at 150 shillings on Monday, while some commercial banks and bureaux de change had already reached this price, or even higher, in recent weeks.

According to Ken Gichinga, chief economist at research firm Mentoria Economics, this new low is mainly due to the strengthening of the US currency, because of the recent crisis in the Middle East “which is pushing investors towards safe havens” and the high yields on US Treasury bonds.

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This depreciation is making imports more expensive and increasing Kenya’s debt, which stood at more than 10,100 billion shillings (64.4 billion euros) at the end of June, according to Treasury figures, or around two-thirds of gross domestic product.

Repaying this debt, particularly to China, is becoming increasingly costly for the government, which will also have to start repaying its debt in July.

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