CBK's failure to publish weekly updates on the level of foreign exchange reserves held by the regulator has unnerved currency traders, who ordinarily use the data in addition to other factors such as demand and supply while pricing the shilling. The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has failed to publish weekly data on forex reserves for four weeks in a row, creating uncertainty on the level of foreign currency available to cover the country's import bills. The CBK has not revealed the level of reserves since December 19 , even though the shilling has strengthened to the 85 units band against the dollar. On December 19 , the Shilling traded on a mean of 86.17 units to the US currency, but it averaged Sh85.53 units on Friday. The data on the amount of foreign exchange reserves normally shows the equivalent cover for imports of goods and serves to give confidence to the financial markets about the country's ability to run its economy smoothly. Repeated requests When the monetary authority last disclosed the number, the reserves stood at $5.992 billion or Sh515 billion, which is equivalent to 4.2 months of import cover, which is above the statutory minimum requirement of four months cover. The forex reserves were however slightly short of the 4.5 months prescribed minimum by the planned East African Monetary Union . CBK has declined to reveal the numbers despite repeated requests for them. Analysts said they were concerned about the implications for decision making because the market needed information on the status of the forex levels especially in determining the cushion provided for the shilling and confidence for the financial markets. New format "We haven't seen the foreign exchange data for some time now and yet it concerns the financial markets and investors. It seems the CBK has adopted a new format for its weekly update in the New Year without informing users of the information they release," said Alexander Muiruri , a fixed-income dealer and analyst at African Alliance Investment Bank . Mr Muiruri drew attention to the recent sharp differences in the amount of gross foreign exchange reserves released by CBK, on the one hand, and those released by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), on the other. KNBS data showed that the gross forex reserves stood at Sh671 billion last October, which was a decline from last July's position of Sh704 billion. The CBK, on the other hand, showed the reserves were Sh505 billion in the same month of October, and that they had risen from last July rather than fallen. Peter Mutuku , Head of trading at Bank of Africa in Nairobi , said the market had absolutely no clue as to the level of gross foreign exchange reserves given the CBK failure to publish the data.
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