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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
Kenya’s trade deficit widens by 10.2 percent in the second quarter

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s trade deficit widened by 10.2 percent in the second quarter of 2018 to 3.02 billion U.S. dollars from 2.74 billion dollars in the corresponding quarter of 2017, the statistics agency said on Friday.

Zachary Mwangi, Director General of Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), said that the expanded trade deficit was largely driven by both faster rate of growth and magnitude of imports relative to exports.

“During the quarter under review, imports grew by 8.8 percent to 4.6 billion dollars from 4.235 billion dollars in the corresponding quarter of 2017. Total exports increased by 6.2 percent to 1.582 billion dollars over the same period,” Mwangi said in statement released in Nairobi.

The balance of payments estimates for the second quarter, that is from April to June indicates that the current account deficit narrowed to 858 million dollars in the second quarter of 2018 from 1.3 billion dollars in the same period in 2017.

According to the statistics body, the net surpluses in the service and secondary income accounts contributed significantly to the narrowing of the current account deficit.

“The current account deficit was primarily brought about by larger increases in merchandise imports relative to exports,” Mwangi said.

“Merchandise imports valued on free on board (fob) grew by 7.6 percent to 4.37 billion dollars while merchandise exports increased by 6.3 percent to 1.596 billion dollars in the second quarter of 2018,” Mwangi said.

He revealed that international merchandise trade balance deficit worsened by 8.3 percent to 2.77 billion dollars while international trade in services inflows increased by 10.1 percent to 1.36 billion dollars.

The government data indicates that in the secondary income account, remittances by Kenyans employed in the diaspora amounted to 747 million dollars in the second quarter of 2018 from 476 million dollars in the corresponding quarter of 2017.

Mwangi said that the public and publicly guaranteed external debt grew by 2.65 billion dollars from 22.97 billion dollars as at end of June 2017 to 25.60 billion dollars as at end of June 2018.

He said that the growth was occasioned mainly by increased uptake of commercial banks loans that stood at 9.06 billion dollars as at the end of the review period.

Mwangi noted that the foreign exchange earnings from domestic exports went up to 1.39 billion dollars in the second quarter of 2018 from 1.324 billion dollars in the similar quarter of 2018.

According to the statistics body, the value of exports to Africa countries accounted for 35.2 percent of total exports while European Union and Asia accounted for 21.6 percent and 28.4 percent, respectively, during the second quarter of 2018.

Total value of exports to Africa increased to 557 million dollars in the second quarter of 2018 from 533 million dollars in the second quarter of 2017.

Total exports to the East African Community partner states rose from 266 million dollars in the second quarter of 2017 to 288 million dollars billion in the same quarter of 2018.

Mwangi said that Tanzania recorded the highest increase in the value of total exports over the period at 35.7 percent to 74 million dollars.

He noted that the value of imports from Asia accounted for 69.1 percent of the total import bill of 4.6 billion dollars in the second quarter of 2018.

Imports from Europe and rest of Africa accounted for 15.8 percent and 11 percent, respectively, during the review period.

           

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