The Kenyan shilling was steady against the dollar on Monday, and traders said it was likely to weaken due to demand for dollars from oil importers.

At 0730 GMT, commercial banks quoted the shilling at 83.00/10 against the dollar, the same level it closed on Friday.

Oil importers may stretch the shilling to 83.15/25 as they did last week. Dollar inflows from the tea sector are still low, said Alex Karanja, a trader at Chase Bank.

In earlier trade, the shilling touched a high of 82.95/83.05 as banks sold dollars.

The shilling has strengthened marginally mainly due to dealers shedding some long positions, said Kennedy Butiko, deputy head of treasury at Bank of Africa.

Traders said they expected the shilling to stay under pressure and near its all-time low of 83.35, driven mainly by local fuel importers seeking dollars in anticipation of a further rise in oil prices.

Oil has risen sharply on international markets on concerns the worsening turmoil in Libya might lead to civil war in the world's 12th-largest oil exporter.

Traders said tea export receipts, the biggest source of foreign exchange into east Africa's biggest economy, have so far been lacklustre.

Kenya is the global leader in black tea exports and its output fell 4.5 percent to 35.9 million kgs in January compared with the same month a year ago.

Traders said they did not expect any central bank intervention as the market was moving on fundamentals.

We doubt central bank will intervene. They may only come in to buy to boost their reserves, said Butiko.

Central bank kept away from the market last week after three purchases of hard currency in the previous week.

Governor Njuguna Ndungu said on Friday crises in north Africa and Egypt had created instability in the shilling's exchange rate and this was detrimental to the economy.

A technical analysis show the shilling is in a long-term weakening trend and suggests it has further to fall.