Investors at Nairobi Securities Exchange lose Sh11.44 billion after commissioner Akombe resigns

The shilling took a hit from the political uncertainty forcing the central bank to sell dollars in the foreign exchange market after the shilling weakened.

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commissioner, Dr Akombe yesterday morning announced her resignation from New York saying the electoral body was not in a position to deliver free and fair elections and therefore she won’t be part of that mockery casting doubt on the credibility of the fresh presidential elections scheduled for October 26th.

Following her exit, share prices fell in 16 out of the 64 listed securities at the exchange, reflecting subdued investor sentiments that are expected to persist till mid next month.

Market capitalisation stood at Sh2.295 trillion ($22b) at the close of business, down from Sh2.306 trillion ($22.3b) on Tuesday.

The shilling equally took a hit from the political uncertainty, currency traders told Reuters the central bank had sold dollars in the foreign exchange market to buttress the shilling after it weakened.

Commercial banks quoted the currency at an average of 103.30/40 units in afternoon trading, compared with Tuesday’s close of 103.20/40.

“We saw a light intervention by the central bank but the pressure is there from all sectors, mainly politically driven purchases as we get closer to the election date,” Reuters quoted a trader saying in a report.

The market closed 6.23 points lower at 3591.62 points, weighed down by significant losses on blue chip counters, which normally attract heavy foreign investor trading.

The number of shares traded rose by 8.2 million ($79,186) to Sh29.12 million ($281,210) from Tuesday's Sh20.91 million ($194,973) – meaning there was little movement on share prices.

The NSE All Share Index (NASI) was down by 0.78 points to 156.6 points while the NSE 25 Share Index dropped 13.03 points to stand at 4080.25.

He said the central bank was closely watching the situation and is committed to the flexible exchange rate policy.

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