KWACHA ON TIGHTROPE

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By FRANK MUKUPA

THE Kwacha has continued to trade on the back foot against the dollar due to the persistent increase in demand from the agriculture and energy sectors, Barclays Bank daily report says.

According to the report, the Kwacha opened the day at its previous day’s close of K14.00/K14.050, and weakened throughout the day to close 5 ngwee lower at K14.050/14.100 per dollar on the bid and offer respectively.

“Greenback supply from payroll conversions coupled with Kwacha appetite from corporates looking to participate in today’s Treasury bill auction might give the local currency some support in the near term,” the report said.

Meanwhile, liquidity levels in the market increased slightly to K422.65 million from K349.62 million in yesterday’s session with the volumes of funds traded on the interbank reduced from K446.00 million to K250.00 million.

“The overnight interbank rate moved up from 11.31 percent to 11.70 percent. The local unit remained stable in yesterday with yields remaining unchanged,” the report said.

On oil, the report said the prices were steady on Wednesday, after falling the past two days, as a surge in US stockpiles reinforced concerns about lacklustre global economic growth.

 “West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 11 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $55.32 a barrel, after falling 4.3 percent during the previous two sessions.

“Brent crude futures were at $60.93 a barrel, up 2 cents, or 0.03 percent. Brent dropped 3.8 percent during the prior two sessions,” the report said.

According to the report, gold prices rose to their highest levels in nearly two weeks as US Senate action on Hong Kong created a potential obstacle to a trade deal between the United States and China, denting appeal for riskier assets.

“Spot gold rose by 0.2 percent to $1,475.83 per ounce and U.S. gold futures were up 0.1 percent at $1,476.20,” the report said.

Copper prices touched one-week highs after top consumer China cut interest rates to shore up growth, and on hopes the country’s trade dispute with the United States could move towards a resolution.

“Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange traded up 0.3 percent at $5,895 a tonne in official rings. Prices of the metal used widely in power and construction earlier touched $5,905.50, the highest level since Nov. 12,” the report said.

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