NAIROBI, Feb. 4 (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan shilling hit a six-month high against the U.S. dollar on Monday as inflows from diaspora remittances surged.
The shilling stood at 50.38, data from the Central Bank of Kenya released on Monday shows, the highest level since Aug. 10, 2018, when it stood at 50.36.
Analysts attributed the surge to hard currency inflows from diaspora remittances and offshore investors' buying government debt, coupled with thin end-month dollar demand from oil importers.
According to the central bank, diaspora remittances have been on the rise, up by 39 percent in 2018 to 270 billion shillings (2.7 billion U.S. dollars), and from 1.9 billion dollars of 2017.
The high remittances are attributed to increased uptake of financial products by the diaspora due to financial services firms, particularly banks.
The stronger shilling against the dollar has led to a pile-up in forex reserves, which stood at 8.14 billion dollars, having risen by 135 million dollars in January.
A stronger shilling means the apex bank does not have to sell dollars to stabilize the local currency in case it faces pressure from international currencies.