Lusaka - Zambia's kwacha hit a new record low against the dollar on Friday as exporters held off on selling the greenback on speculation the local currency would weaken further.

The local unit fell to 6.4500 per dollar, its weakest level on record according to Thomson Reuters, extending its losses this year to nearly 12 percent.

“We are not seeing the (dollar) conversions that we previously used to see from corporates, because market sentiment is that the kwacha remains bearish,” one commercial bank trader in Lusaka said.

Dealers said the government's lifting last week of a ban on the use of dollars for domestic transactions in a bid to ease pressure on the kwacha, appeared to have had little impact.

Last week Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda said the recent slide in the kwacha, partly due to lower copper prices, was only temporary and the central bank would not deplete its reserves to try and defend the currency. - Reuters