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Exports drop to Sh129b in first half of the year

By Noel Wandera
Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019

Kenya’s exports in the second quarter dropped by 7.8 per cent to Sh128.7 billion, compared to Sh139.6 billion during a similar period last year.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) attributed the decline to a 26.2 per cent drop in the value of tea exports to Sh25.1 billion.

According to KNBS, one kilogramme of tea was sold for Sh242.9 in the second quarter of the year compared to Sh280.3 in the second quarter of 2018.

East Africa Tea Traders Association (EATA) managing director Edward Mudibo said during the quarter, external factors played a key role in suppressing the prices.

“There has been a shift in decline of prices due to external factors including turmoil in the Arab countries, which are major tea consumers.

There is a US embargo on Iran’s Central Bank where the tea auction is dollar dominated. Continuing Brexit drama has also contributed to the decline in price,” he said.

Horticulture and coffee sold also dropped to Sh30.1 billion and Sh7.2 billion respectively in 2019 further dampening the export market. 

On balance of trade, Kebs says the current account improved to a deficit of Sh107.6 billion compared to a deficit of Sh122 billion in the corresponding quarter of 2018.

This was mainly driven by the narrowing of the merchandise trade deficit by 1.7 per cent from Sh277.7 billion in the second quarter of last year to Sh272.9 billion in the corresponding quarter this year. 

Diaspora remittances

The second quarter of 2019 witnessed a marginal decrease in net inflow of international trade in services to a surplus of Sh38.3 billion. 

However, diaspora remittances increased by 8.1 per cent to Sh80.8 billion boosting the secondary income account to a surplus of Sh149.2 billion in the second quarter of the year.

According to KNBS, the value of articles of apparel and clothing accessories increased by 7.1 per cent, titanium ores and concentrates by 16.5 per cent, iron and steel by 26.9 per cent while medicinal and pharmaceutical products by 14.3 per cent in the review period.

Food and beverages exports by broad economic category accounted for 43.9 per cent of domestic exports in the second quarter of 2019, down from a 49.5 per cent in 2018.