Shilling weakens, pressured by growth forecast cut
Publish Date: May 03, 2014
Shilling weakens, pressured by growth forecast cut
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KAMPALA - The Ugandan shilling fell on Friday, sapped by demand from energy and manufacturing firms and on reduced growth expectations after the central bank cut its forecast for economic output.

Commercial banks quoted the currency at 2,525/2,535 down from Wednesday's close of 2,515/2,525.

Ugandan markets were closed for Labour Day on Thursday.

"The market is receiving a lot of end month-related demand from the manufacturing and energy sectors," said Shahzad Kamaluddin, a trader at Crane Bank.

Also, "the central bank's new forecast for growth signals the economy isn't doing very well... that's not good news for the shilling."

Earlier on Friday, Bank of Uganda cut its growth forecast for the 2013/14 fiscal year to 5.7 percent from 6 percent while holding the benchmark interest rate at 11.5 percent.
David Bagambe, a trader at Diamond Trust Bank Uganda, said the shilling was also being undermined by market expectations of a slowdown in hard currency flows from offshore investors.

"Rates are going down and we don't think demand for Ugandan debt from foreign investors will remain the same," he said.

"... We expect a dip in inflows from these people which inevitably will hit the shilling."

At a Treasury bill auction worth 120 billion Ugandan shillings this week, the weighted average yield fell across all maturities.

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