Kenya's Trading Value Down By Sh39 Billion in April as COVID-19 Continues to Disrupt the Economy

Nairobi — Kenya's trading value with international counterparts declined in the month of April by Sh39 billion, reflecting how the outbreak of coronavirus has continued to slow down the country's economic activities.

A report by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics reveals that the country's trade value reduced from Sh202.25 billion in March 2020 to Sh162.97 billion in April 2020, affecting the overall value of exports.

"The value of total exports decreased from Sh64.48 billion in March 2020 to Sh43.21 billion in April 2020," reads the KNBS report on leading economic indicators.

The depressed income from exports were contributed by a decrease in the quantity of coffee exported from 4,604.42 MT in March 2020 to 4,395.52 MT in April 2020 even as its value rose from Sh2,410.16 million to Sh2,590.20 million over the same period.

At the same time, income from tea shipped abroad rose from Sh11,665.48 million to Sh13,216.71 million over the same period.

This came as production increased from 51,440.71 MT in March 2020 to 57,949.33 MT in April 2020.

However, the country's exports in the year to April were up garnering Sh221.9billion from Sh205.7billion in the first four months of 2019.

The report by KNBS comes at a time when countries globally have moved to limit movement in and out of their regions in order to curb the spread of the deadly disease coronavirus that has claimed over 380,000 lives globally.

This has in turn affected the country's exports especially for its major export earners such as tea, horticulture and coffee which are largely sold raw.

For instance, exports to Uganda declined to Sh2.3billion in April from Sh5.3billion in March while exports to the United Kingdom grew to Sh4.4billion from Sh4.3billion in March.

However, imports from China hit Sh21billion from Sh16.2billion in March even as imports from India fell by half to Sh11.7billion from Sh21.3billion.

KNBS data also indicates the value of imports the review period also declined from Sh137.77 billion in March 2020 to Sh119.75 billion in April 2020.

The earnings from imports under the broad economic categories reveal that non-food industrial supplies were the main import category in April 2020 with a share of 39.63 percent.

Fuel and lubricants, machinery and other capital equipment, and transport equipment constituted 14.77, 14.06, and 9.46 percent of the total value of imports, respectively.

The share of foods and beverages imports accounted for 12.91 percent of the total imports.

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