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Investors experience some good luck based on the depreciation of Kenya’s currency

Kenyan shillings comes under pressure as importers open shops following end of the festive season
  • Kenyan shilling depreciation boosts returns as diversified investors gain from foreign currency assets.
  • Kenyan investors see a 24.9% increase in returns amidst shifting markets.
  • Kenyan multinationals benefit as shilling weakness spurs overseas profits.

The depreciation of the Kenyan shilling has increased the value of returns on foreign currency assets, protecting investors from fluctuations in the local economy.

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The Kenyan Shilling for the past 2 years has depreciated dramatically, while equities and fixed-income investments linked to the US dollar and regional currencies have seen relatively higher results.

Most companies traded on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) have seen price decreases, and until recently, local bond interest rates provided no defense against inflation.

In the meantime, investors with more diverse portfolios are realizing significant returns on the portions of their holdings that are not denominated in local currency.

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For example, the interest rate on dollar money market funds from companies like Sanlam and CIC Asset Management has risen from the beginning of the year to highs of six percent from lows of 3.5 percent.

The dollar's rise versus the local currency has benefited holders of fixed-income investments even more. In only the last 12 months, the dollar has increased in value by 24.9% vs the shilling, buying 152 units of local currency.

The impact of the relative weakness of the shilling has also increased dividend profits for investors in the international stock markets. They comprise stockholders of cross-listed firms on the NSE and companies from the regional market. They are Umeme Limited, Bank of Kigali, and MTN Uganda.

The value of the dividends given by their firms to investors in Kenya has increased due to the neighboring countries' currencies appreciating versus the shilling. In comparison to the Kenyan shilling over the last 12 months, the Ugandan shilling has increased by 24.9%, the Tanzanian shilling by 16.1%, and the Rwandan franc by 6%.

In addition to portfolio investors, the inflated profits and assets in their overseas subsidiaries are benefiting Kenyan multinational corporations with varied activities throughout the area. Among them are financial institutions like DTB Group, I&M Holdings, NCBA Group, and Equity Group.

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