Kenya's exports to Asia fell by 20.9 percent on a yearly basis to 40.9 billion Kenyan shillings (409 million U.S. dollars) in the first quarter of 2019, latest data showed.
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The drop in earnings from tea exports to Pakistan was the main reason for the overall decline in total exports to Far East Asia, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) said in a statement on Monday.
Notable declines in exports to Asia were recorded in the value of total exports to Pakistan and India which registered declines of 29.9 percent and 50.8 percent respectively, while value of total exports to China and Japan increased during the quarter under review, said KNBS.
Imports from Asia accounted for 61.2 percent of Kenya's total imports during the period under review. Reductions in value of imports from China, India, Japan and Malaysia which registered declines of 12.4 percent, 22.9 percent, 11.1 percent and 25.1 percent respectively, contributed to the decline in imports from the region during the quarter, said KNBS.
The east African nation's exports to the European Union rose 6.6 percent to 40.1 billion Kenyan shillings from January to March, boosted by increased shipment of agricultural produce.
Kenya's exports to Africa were valued at 53.4 billion Kenyan shillings in the first quarter while imports from Africa amounted to 52.6 billion Kenyan shillings.
The value of Kenyan's total imports declined by 3.9 percent on a yearly basis to stand at 421.2 billion Kenyan shillings in the first quarter of 2019, while total exports declined by 3.0 percent to 156.9 billion Kenyan shillings, KNBS data showed.
These resulted in a trade deficit of 264.3 billion Kenyan shillings during the quarter ending March, compared with 276.8 billion Kenyan shillings in the first quarter of 2018, according to the data from the KNBS.
The decline in imports was mainly a result of decrease in imports of industrial machinery and petroleum products, said KNBS.
The data also showed that Kenya's current account deficit improved by 32.7 percent year-on-year to 78.8 billion Kenyan shillings in the first quarter. The narrowing of the current account deficit was supported by an increase in net service inflows and a decrease in merchandise trade deficit, according to KNBS in a statement. ■
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