Kenya’s trade deficit has dropped to Sh33.6 billion in the year to April compared to 2019 within the same period, highlighting the lower import bill and an uptick in export earnings.
According to data from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), the imports in the four months to April this year were worth Sh556.2 billion, a drop of Sh17.4 billion from the previous year. The export earnings stood at Sh221.9 billion, a rise of Sh16.2 billion in the same period.
Lower fuel costs due to a steep drop on global crude prices caused by weak demand following the Covid-19 restrictions is what has largely affected the fall of the import bill.
The disruptions of global supply chains as a result of Covid-19 has also affected trade between states. Here in Kenya, hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost as a result of the restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the virus. This has led to a decrease in purchasing power in the economy, which is majorly supported by imported goods.
However, the export side of the trade has been seen to do quite well. According to CBK, the tea export earnings rose to Sh47.4 billion in the year to April compared to Sh40 billion in the previous year.
“The (export) sector will continue to benefit from the recent cessation of restrictions in key destination markets and increased cargo capacity,” said CBK.