LUSAKA (Reuters) – Zambia’s currency recovered some lost ground on Tuesday but is still sharply weaker against the dollar this month on risk aversion, lower copper prices and ahead of presidential elections.
Evans Chibiliti, Secretary to the Treasury in Zambia, Africa’s biggest copper producer, said on Tuesday the kwacha had come under pressure after foreign investors divested treasury bills and government bonds due to concerns about global growth.
“There is also uncertainty over the elections on October 30,” he said, referring to the currency’s depreciation at a planning meeting for the 2009 budget, state ZNBC radio reported.
The kwacha had rallied about 2 percent against the dollar to 3,830 by 1315 GMT, as investors moved back into riskier assets after developed nations unveiled plans to protect struggling banks, which helped boost copper prices.
However, it is still about 8 percent weaker since the start of October — similar to the fall for South Africa’s rand over the same period.
Zambians will on October 30 elect a successor to Levy Mwanawasa, who died in August after a stroke, with acting President Rupiah Banda and opposition leader Michael Sata the main contenders.
Mwanawasa was widely praised for austere policies that helped lift economic growth and kept inflation under control, and his death raised political and economic uncertainty.
Munalula Mate, the Treasurer of CitiBank Zambia said lower copper prices had added to pressure on the currency.
“Since copper has been slumping on the world market, it (kwacha) is mainly following the copper price,” he said.
The copper price jumped almost 10 percent on Tuesday but is down around 40 percent since hitting a record high in July.
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