Kenyan exports worst hit by declining trade as COVID-19 pandemic persists

Kenya’s trading value with eternal trading partners declined by Ksh.39 billion in April as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic took root in the country.

Total trading in the period fell to Ksh.163 billion from Ksh.202.2 billion in March bringing the cumulative value of trade in four months to Ksh.768.7 billion from Ksh.779.3 billion over a similar period in 2019.

According to the data by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Kenyan exports were the worst hit by the declining trade shedding off Ksh.21.3 billion in the month in comparison to imports which declined by a lesser sum of Ksh. 18billion.

Cumulative exports in the year to April were however on the rise peaking at Ksh. 221.9billion from Ksh. 205.7billion in the first four months of 2019.

Total imports in the year to date were meanwhile down at Ksh.546.8 billion from Ksh.573.6 billion last year.

The declining trade mirrors the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic which has seen wide spread disruptions to global value chains from resulting virus containment measures.

Kenya’s major export destinations registered a mixed bag of outcomes in the period.

Exports to Uganda for instance declined to Ksh. 2.3billion in April from Ksh. 5.3billion in March while exports to the United Kingdom grew marginally to Ksh. 4.4billion from Ksh. 4.3billion in March.

Similarly, imports were mixed with orders from China recovering to Ksh. 21billion from Ksh. 16.2billion in March while imports from India fell by half to Ksh. 11.7billion from Ksh. 21.3billion.

The declining trade was visible in the monthly cargo volumes passing through the port of Mombasa with data from the Kenya Ports of Authority (KPA) showing an overall decline of volumes by 4,342 metric tons (MT).

Imports through the port were however rose by 103,468 MT as exports lost ground by 97,891 MT.


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