The kwacha depreciated sharply against major currency convertibles to sink and crash through the K13.00 per dollar psychological barrier for the first time since November, 2015.
According to financial market players, the kwacha has maintained a weak position, depreciating to breach the K13.00 per dollar, an over three-year high, losing value from a position where it traded at around K12.41 by April 12.
The local unit was seen trading at a market average of K12.87 and K12.92 by end of day, Friday, for bid and offer respectively, according to the Bank of Zambia, compared to trading at K12.41 and K12.46 just two weeks ago.
But a check at some bureaus in Lusaka by close of business, Friday, revealed that the local currency plummeted to breach the K13.00 per dollar barrier.
The kwacha’s continued loss in value comes amidst slashed economic growth projections by both the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) for Zambia this year, and is continuing to show little sign of improvement in the near-term.
“The local unit started the month on a sour note. With no dollar supply to rely on, the local unit continued to depreciate, opening the way for the K13.00 level to be breached. The market opened, Thursday at K12.70/12.75 and, due to the absence of activity, the spread broadened, making price discovery difficult. When the market firmed up, the kwacha continued to lose ground and closed the day at K12.92/K12.97,” FNB Zambia stated in its daily treasury newsletter, released, Friday.
“Unless positive sentiment or dollar supply is seen, our view of a bearish kwacha still stands. Players on the right-hand side should be ready to trade above K13.00 today (Friday).”
And a check at several bureaus revealed that local unit had breached the K13.00 per dollar psychological barrier for the first time since November, 2015.
The local unit traded at exactly K13.00 flat per dollar for bid and offer, respectively, at Golden Coin Bureau, Cairo Road branch.
Ace-FX Bureau quoted the kwacha at K12.88 and K12.95 for bid and offer, respectively, but confirmed that the local unit did breach the K13.00 per dollar barrier by lunchtime, Friday.