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National reserves at 3-month low on huge dollar outflow

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Stanbic Bank, Regional Economist, Jibran Qureishi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • The shilling has also been hit hard, sliding to a six-month low against the greenback on Tuesday.
  • The forex reserves dropped to $7.92 billion (Sh823.04 billion) or an equivalent of 5.23 months of imports cover on July 6
  • This was from a low of $6.97 billion (Sh724.32 billion) on March 16.

Kenya’s foreign exchange reserves have fallen to a three-month low on increased dollar outflows.

The shilling has also been hit hard, sliding to a six-month low against the greenback on Tuesday.

The forex reserves dropped to $7.92 billion (Sh823.04 billion) or an equivalent of 5.23 months of imports cover on July 6.

This is the lowest since March 30 when they stood at $7.73 billion (Sh803.30 billion) or 5.11 months of import cover.

Regional economist at Stanbic Bank #ticker:CFC, Jibran Qureishi attributed the drop to semi-annual $90 million (ShSh9.35 billion) coupon payment on $2.75 billion Eurobond, dividend payment season, increased maize and sugar imports, and a slowdown in tea receipts.

“What we normally see in June is that there’s a confluence of risks for reserves… because generally the dollar demand is usually high.

If you look at the fundamentals of the balance of payment right now, there’s a slowdown in tea receipts and, at the same time, there’s a bit of elevated demand (for dollar) because there’s importation of maize and sugar going on,” Mr Qureishi said.

The $986.9 million (Sh102.55 billion) loan from the Chinese government, $800 million (Sh83.13 billion) syndicated commercial loan and $450 million (Sh46.76 billion) loan from the Preferential Trade Area and African Export Import Bank had helped lift reserves to a historic high of $8.31 billion (Sh863.57 billion) in April 27.

This was from a low of $6.97 billion (Sh724.32 billion) on March 16.

They have since fallen by about $390 million (Sh40.53 billion) or 4.69 per cent but still are within the statutory requirement of four months of import cover and 4.5 of the East African Community preference.