Kenya’s trade deficit in the second quarter to June this year has narrowed to Ksh 397.8 billion supported by a 9.6pc increase in value of export to Ksh 249.2 billon when imports declined 1.6pc.
Latest data released by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics indicates that the rise in export from Ksh 227.4 billion in a similar period last year was driven by increases in domestic exports of tea, horticulture, coffee, and iron and steel during the quarter under review.
In three months to June 2023, the value of tea exports rose to Ksh 43.8 billon from Ksh 40.3 billion reported last year, while the value of horticulture exports hit Ksh 47 billion from Ksh 39.4 billion.
The value of coffee exports on the other hand rose marginally, from Ksh 12.3 billion to Ksh 13.6 billion.
Strong export growth was witnessed in the African market where Kenya sold goods valued at Ksh 105 billon from Ksh 89.6 billion equivalent to 42.1pc of total export earnings.
“Uganda remained to be the single major destination of Kenya’s exports, partly on account of increased domestic exports of cement clinkers, grain sorghum, salt, and lubricants in liquid form,” said KNBS.
During the period when the local currency weakened against the dollar, the country registered cutbacks in import orders for petroleum products, cooking oil and machinery and apparatus.
As a result, import expenditure fell to Ksh 647 billion from Ksh 657.3 billon recorded last year.
“The decline was largely occasioned by decrease in imports of petroleum products from Ksh 168.3 billion in the second quarter of 2022 to Ksh 148.8 billion in the quarter under review,” said the bureau.
The local currency depreciated against the dollar to exchange at an average of Ksh 137.13 in the second quarter of 2023 compared to an average of Ksh 116.32 last year.
The data further shows that imports from African increased from Ksh 65.6 billion last year to Ksh 67.3 billion in the second quarter of 2023, largely supported by increase in imports of iron and steel, maize and coal from South Africa.