Hundreds of thousands of Kenyans working abroad sent home record amounts of remittances to their families from January to June this year. Diaspora remittances in the first half of 2021 climbed to $1.75 billion, a 20% jump from $1.46 billion sent in the same period in 2020. The remittances in June amounted to $305.9 million, up from $288.5 million in June last year.
The US maintained its top position as the largest source of remittances into Kenya, accounting for 58.8% of remittances in June 2021 according to data from the Central Bank of Kenya. Other major sources of remittances were; United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Qatar, and Tanzania.
The diaspora remittances provide livelihoods to many Kenyan households, enabling them to pay school fees, healthcare expenses and housing costs.
Foreign currency reserves held by the Central Bank of Kenya rose for the fourth straight week to $9.62 billion from $9.59 billion the previous week. The reserves are adequate to cover 5.87 months of imports.
According to the weekly bulletin issued by CBK, the Kenya Shilling remained stable against major international and regional currencies in the past week, exchanging at KSh 108.03 per US dollar on July 15, compared to KSh 107.95 per US dollar on July
The excess reserves held by Kenyan commercial banks, which consist of cash owned by the bank and stored physically in the bank vault, fell to KSh1.7 billion on 15th July from KSh13.9 billion on 8th July. CBK data shows that the average value of interbank transactions decreased to KSh 4.6 billion from KSh 11.0 billion in the previous week, while the average interbank rate slipped to 3.83% on 15th July compared to 4.54% on 8th July.