The shilling weakened against the dollar to touch a 15-month low of 103.60/80 against the dollar yesterday mainly due to a surge in demand by importers.

The Central Bank stepped in to sell dollars after the fall, helping the currency to pare some of the gains, currency traders told Reuters.

“The shilling depreciated on the opening, moved to 103.60/80, the Central Bank came in and currently it’s a bit stable at 103.50/70,” said a trader at a commercial bank.

The shilling, which was broadly stable against the dollar most of last year, has been under pressure this year, attributed to higher prices of oil in global markets.

The CBK’s hard currency reserves have declined by $337 million (about Sh34.87 billion) since the first week of December to $6.97 billion (Sh721.12 billion), or the equivalent of 4.56 months worth of import cover.