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Importer/exporters go to forex dealers, buy hard currency and use it to import and export different commodities. The importer/exporters receive money from outside the country as advance payment for their goods, and declare the money to bring it into the country.
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“People are also speculating about the devaluation of the birr, especially after the suggestion by the World Bank,” said an importer and investor involved in commercial farming. People want to keep hard currency on hand.
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The currency unit in Kenya is the Kenyan shilling (KES) , comprising 655 cents (c). Coins that are currently used for trade are available in denominations of 55c and 6Shs, 5Shs, 65Shs, 75Shs and 95 shillings.
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Following the unrest, a number of European countries issued travel advisories restricting their citizens from going to violence-prone areas. This has had an impact on banks, where hard currency from tourists is traded and exchanged, according to a manager at a private bank.
The Bureau de la sé curité privé e (BSP) has been contacted by various media in recent days concerning its position on the current. (…)
Due to the drop in visitors, some of the hotels (that are also a source of hard currency) are unable to pay their loans, according to representatives of the Addis Abeba Hotel Owners Trade Sectoral Association. During the first quarter of the current fiscal year, Ethiopia reportedly collected 877 million dollars, which is seven million dollars less in comparison to last year’s.
One US dollar will get you a good cup of Kenyan coffee in a cafe or a can of coke with change back, when it is converted to Kenya currency. An economy class return flight between Nairobi and Mombasa will cost about $675.
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Other bankers argue that the reason for the increase in demand in the parallel market is the changes to banking policies that mandate a first-come first-served forex policy. Exporters who used to be given priority at banks to receive hard currency are flooding to the parallel market.