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Zambian kwacha eases on President Sata illness rumour

شعار Reuters Reuters 29/05/2014
A man displays a 50,000 Kwacha note in Lusaka January 23, 2012. © REUTERS-Mackson Wasamunu A man displays a 50,000 Kwacha note in Lusaka A man displays a 50,000 Kwacha note in Lusaka January 23, 2012. © REUTERS-Mackson Wasamunu A man displays a 50,000 Kwacha note in Lusaka

JOHANNESBURG - Zambia's kwacha weakened by 2.7 percent on Thursday as copper prices fell and a rumour spread that President Michael Sata was sick.

The kwacha closed at 6.9 to the U.S. dollar, 0.19 weaker on the session.

   Sata, 76, was last seen in public on Monday and his health has become an issue, especially among opposition political party leaders. Sata has denied he is sick and accused the opposition of creating the speculation about him.

   "The market remains nervous because of the rumour," one analyst said.

   "They are saying I have been evacuated. Evacuated to where?" the Post newspaper on Thursday quoted Sata as saying by telephone. "I am fit. I am very fit,"

   Zambia is Africa's second-largest copper producer, and the central bank said in a statement on Thursday the depreciation of the kwacha was mainly caused by low prices for the metal, which have averaged $6,500 per tonne since the start of 2014.

   "The Bank of Zambia remains unwavering in its policy of prudently intervening in the foreign exchange market with a view to reducing volatility and building international reserves," the central bank said.

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