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Kenya trade deficit rises by 33pc to Sh1.1t in 2017

The rising deficit is attributed to a faster growth of imports and a slower growth of exports/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya May 7 –  Kenya’s trade balance hit Sh1.1 trillion in 2017 compared to Sh822 million in 2016 an increase of 33 percent according to the latest data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS)

The move is attributed to a faster growth of imports and a slower growth of exports.

In the period under review imports grew by 20.5 percent to hit Sh1.7 trillion in 2017 compared to Sh1.4  trillion in 2016 mainly driven by an increase in importation of industrial machinery, petroleum products, motor vehicles, and iron & steel.

Asia accounted for 64.2 percent of total imports in 2017 with China, India, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia having the lion’s share, accounting for 73.5 percent of the total Asian imports,

On the other hand, Kenya’s exports grew by 2.8 percent in 2017 to hit Sh594.1 billion from Sh578.1 billion same period previous year with the major earners being tea and horticulture, collectively accounting for 49.1 percent of total domestic export earnings.

Despite being the major earners, the total export volumes of tea and horticulture declined by 5.8 percent to 924,234 tons from 981,542 tons in 2016, on account of the adverse weather conditions experienced in the first half of 2017.

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