UPDATE 1-Kazakh tenge falls to lowest since Sept 2007

ALMATY, Feb 3 (Reuters) - The Kazakh tenge fell to its lowest level against the dollar since September 2007 on Tuesday, sliding to 122.85 per dollar on the Kazakh Stock Exchange after opening at 122.00.

Analysts expect the central bank to devalue the tenge in line with the Russian rouble which has lost about a quarter of its value since last October, drawing parallels between the two neighbouring countries' oil-driven economies.

"I think the central bank is reacting (to the depreciation of the rouble) and is devaluing the tenge," said a dealer at a local bank.

The tenge's weighted average exchange rate on the stock exchange's morning session fell to 122.32 tenge per dollar on Tuesday from 121.87 on Monday. Trade volume was $334.9 million.

The tenge fell even lower on the interbank market where it hit the bottom at 122.87 per dollar on Tuesday, but then jumped back to 122.06.

Kazakhstan has been hit hard by the global crisis which crippled its highly leveraged banks. On Monday, the government said it was effectively nationalising the country's largest bank BTA and could take over No.4 bank Alliance.

Analysts say these nationalisations put more pressure on the government and central bank's cash reserves, leaving less money available for exchange rate support.

(Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Additional reporting by Tatiana Seroshtanova; Editing by Ben Tan) Keywords: KAZAKHSTAN TENGE/DEVALUATION

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