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Kenyan shilling steady vs dollar ahead of tea sale

NAIROBI, Oct 9 (Reuters) - The Kenyan shilling

held

its ground against the dollar early on Tuesday and traders said the local currency might strengthen in coming days on the back of dollar inflows from tea exporters.

At 0743 GMT, the shilling traded at 85.00/20 per dollar, unchanged from Monday's closing price.

"We saw a bit of pressure from the oil sector guys in the absence of robust inflows. But we expect inflows from the tea sector later today and tomorrow to help the shilling," said Dickson Magecha, a trader at Standard Chartered Bank.

Kenya is the world's biggest exporter of black tea, and the crop is its largest foreign currency earner. The average price of top grade tea firmed for the third week in a row to $4.20 per kg at auction last week, up from $4.15 per kg previously.

Kenya's weekly tea auctions take place on a Tuesday and tea producers typically convert dollar inflows into shillings to cover local costs.

However, traders warned importers would take advantage of a stronger shilling to buy dollars once more.

"There are a lot of dollar orders lined up at below 85.00, so if we break that level, we could see the shilling pressured again," another trader at a leading commercial bank said.

...........................Shilling spot rates

.....................Shilling forward rates

.......................Cross rates

..................................Local contributors

.......................Central Bank of Kenya Index

.....................Kenyan Bonds contributor pages

...............Treasury bill yields

..................Central bank open market operations

.........................Horizontal repo transactions

,

................Daily interbank lending rate

.............................Kenya Bond pricing

..................Real time Africa economic data

...........................African economic news

.................................NSE-20 Share Index

.................................NSE All Share Index

...........................FT NSE Kenya 15 Index

.......................... FT NSE Kenya 25 Index

SPEED GUIDES:

(Reporting by Kevin Mwanza; Editing by Richard Lough and Patrick Graham)

((nairobi.newsroom@reuters.com)(Tel: +254 20 2224717))

Keywords: KENYA MARKETS/