Kenya’s export and import market experienced a slight decline in 2016, according to the 2017 Economic Survey Report by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.
In this regard, total exports declined marginally from Kshs 581 billion in 2015 to Kshs 578.1 billion in 2016 while total imports contracted by 9.2 percent to Kshs 1.43 trillion.
The decline in Kenya’s imports and exports led to narrowing of the trade deficit from Kshs 996.5 billion in 2015 to Kshs 853.7 billion in 2016 and an improvement of export-import ratio from 36.8% to 40.4% over the same period.
According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics Economic Survey 2017, tea, horticulture, articles of apparel and clothing accessories, and coffee were the leading export earners, jointly accounting for 56.7% of the total domestic exports during the review period.
The broad economic categories of food and beverages, consumer goods, and non-food industrial supplies contributed the highest proportion of total domestic exports at 45.2%, 25.6%, and 24.5% respectively in 2016.
The report further indicates that non-food industrial supplies, machinery and capital equipment, fuel and lubricants, and transport equipment contributed the highest share of the total import bill at 36.2%, 21.8%, 14.5% and 10.3% respectively in the year under review.
KNBS indicates that Africa continued to be the leading destination of the country’s exports accounting for 40.6% with the East African Community accounting for 21.1% of the total exports.
During the review period, Europe and Asia accounted for 24.5% and 24.3% of the total exports, with the European Union and the Far East accounting for 21% and 15.6% respectively.
The main source of imports for the country was Asia accounting for 66.8% with the Far East accounting for 53.2% of the total imports during the review period.
According to the 2017 Economic Survey report, the increased imports from Asia are related to the ongoing construction of the Standard Gauge Railway. Europe was the second largest source accounting for 18.5% of the total imports with the European Union contributing 14.9%.
The deficit in the current account narrowed by 11.9% to Kshs 370.8 billion in 2016 partly due to declines of 0.7% and 1.8% in merchandise exports and imports on free on board basis, respectively.
Net inflows of international trade in services increased by 32.7% to a surplus of Kshs 171.7 billion attributed to increased foreign travel receipts boosted by conference tourism.
Domestic exports however continued to grow for the third consecutive year, rising from Kshs 499.7 billion in 2015 to Kshs 506.5 billion in 2016.