The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) released coins valued at Sh494 million into the economy in the year to June 2023, pushing their overall value to a record high of Sh10.56 billion.
This is an increase of 4.1 percent from the Sh10.41 billion worth of coins that were circulating within the economy in the year to June 2022.
The CBK data shows that the apex bank mopped up coins valued at Sh76 million from circulation during the period but released coins valued at Sh494 million, leading to a net outflow of Sh418 million worth of coins.
Total inflows into the CBK including notes and coins for the year stood at Sh544.65 billion while outflows were Sh555.3 billion for the same period.
Compared to the previous year, both the deposits and withdrawals were lower by 3.52 percent and 6.31 percent respectively.
“Currency in circulation increased by Sh10.6 billion, an increase of 3.5 percent compared to an increase of 10.2 percent in the previous financial year,” said the CBK.
“The net increase of currency in circulation was attributed to higher currency outflows (withdrawals) compared to the net inflows (deposits),” said the bank.
Kenya has five denominations of Sh1, Sh5, Sh10, Sh20 and Sh40 coins in circulation.
The CBK, however, discontinued the production of the Sh40 coin in December 2018 after issuing a new generation of currency coins.
The CBK issued new-generation currency coins and banknotes on December 11, 2018, and May 31, 2019, respectively.
“Currency in circulation represents the nominal value of all banknotes and coins held by the public and commercial banks. The Bank demonetises currency denominations that it considers no longer suitable for circulation through a gazette notice,” said the Central Bank.
The release of more coins into the economy comes at a time when smaller units of cash are increasingly becoming important to settle low-value purchases amid a biting cost of living crisis.
Previous CBK data showed that there were some Sh995 million worth of Sh1 and 50 cents coins that have been taken out of circulation by shoppers who have just left them idle.
These are mostly coins that are given as change during transactions but are stashed away and often forgotten about by consumers.
Tough times are, however, now forcing consumers to mop up these coins and use them in payments.