Kenya’s 9-month foreign trade gap shrinks 7% y/y on lower oil prices

By bne IntelliNews November 12, 2015

Kenya’s foreign trade deficit narrowed 7% y/y to KES737bn ($7.2bn) for the first nine months of 2015, mainly thanks to lower costs of imported fuel and lubricants, data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) showed.

Kenya has seen a growth in imports, especially equipment and machinery, related to the stepped up rollout of infrastructure and energy projects. This, together with lower income from the country’s key exports such as tea, coffee and cut flowers, coupled with a decline in tourism earnings due to rise in insecurity have led to a widening of its current account gap to 4.5% of GDP in the first half of 2015 from 3.1% in the same period last year.

The country’s exports rose 5.0% y/y to KES429.3bn in January-September, while imports fell 2.9% y/y to KES1.17trn.

In September alone, the trade gap was KES88.8mn, 25.7% larger than in August, as exports dropped 9.3%, while imports rose 10.4%. In September 2014, the country reported a foreign trade shortfall of KES119.5mn. Exports of food and beverages accounted for 48% of its total exports in September, up from 43.7% a year earlier.

Uganda was Kenya’s main export market in September, with a share of 9.5%, followed by Pakistan with 7.0%, the UK with 6.7%, and the US with 6.4%. China was the main importer into the East African country with a 25.7% share of total imports, followed by India (17.3%), and Japan (5.7%).

External trade, KES bn Sep-15 Aug-15 Sep-14 Jan-Sep 2015 Jan-Sep 2014
Total exports 49.9 55.1 40.5 429.3 409.0
--domestic exports 42.3 46.8 37.8 368.7 348.1
--re-exports 7.6 8.2 2.6 60.6 60.9
Total imports 138.7 125.7 159.9 1 166.3 1 201.2
TRADE BALANCE -88.8 -70.6 -119.5 -737.0 -792.2
Source: KNBS           

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