POLL-Kazakh tenge seen weakening after short-lived tax rally
ALMATY, Dec 3 (Reuters) - The Kazakh tenge KZT= is likely to weaken against the dollar this month on current account deficit concerns after a brief rally in late November when quarterly tax payments squeezed liquidity, according to a Reuters poll.
Eight out of nine participants in the poll, which was carried out between Nov. 27 and Dec. 3, expect the currency to weaken this month, while one analyst saw it continuing to trade around 387 per dollar.
The 12-month outlook was bearish, with all nine analysts forecasting a weaker tenge.
The Central Asian nation's currency has weakened 0.6% against the dollar so far this year. It strengthened to around 385 per dollar in the second half of November as quarterly tax payments tightened domestic liquidity, prompting some banks to start borrowing from the central bank.
The rally was, however, much less pronounced than the one a year earlier and the tenge has already given up most of the gains as attention shifts to widening current account and fiscal deficits.
Central bank chairman Yerbolat Dosayev said last week the bank expected Kazakhstan's current account deficit to widen to 2.3%-3.7% of gross domestic product in 2020-2024 from the 2.0% expected this year.
In January-September, the oil-exporting nation's current account gap widened to $4.7 billion from $1.8 billion a year earlier.
"Current account and fiscal area weakness could still push the dollar higher towards the 390-395 tenge area by the end of the year," said Aibek Burabayev, deputy director of the financial market department at ICBC Almaty.
(Reporting by Mariya Gordeyeva; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)
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