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Capital Markets

Q1 remittances climb 6pc amidst virus



Central Bank of Kenya. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Central Bank of Kenya. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Cash sent home by Kenyans abroad rose 6.2 per cent in the first quarter amid projections of a slowdown in coming months on the back of pandemic-induced global economic crisis.

The Kenyan diaspora remitted nearly Sh75.6 billion ($707.3 million) in the January-March 2020 compared to over Sh71.13 billion ($665.8 million) wired in the same period a year earlier.

The month-on-month flows recovered in March, rising 4.5 per cent to $228.9 million (Sh24.4 billion) after a 15.6 per cent slowdown in February to $219.0 million (Sh23.4 billion) from $259.4 million (Sh27.7 billion) in January.

Overall, the remittances during the first quarter of 2020 grew faster than corresponding period in 2019 when the growth was a modest 3.8 per cent over Sh68.5 billion ($641.5 million) in 2018.

Kenyans in foreign countries historically appear to send in more cash to support families and friends during times of economic crisis or slowdown, inflows which also provide a buffer for the shilling against major international currencies.

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