Kenya continued to record more remittances from its citizens working or living in the United States of America, United Kingdom and the rest of Europe.
This is despite effects of COVID 19 pandemic on the global economy, which has cut such inflows from other countries such as South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Mauritius and Oman.
Weekly data from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) shows that Remittance inflows increased to US$ 228.9 million in March 2020 compared to US$ 218.8 million in February. The cumulative inflows in the 12 months to March 2020 totalled US$ 2,838 million compared to US$2,722 million in the 12 months to March 2019, reflecting a growth of 4.3 per cent.
Available figures puts total diaspora remittances to Kenya in 2019 at US$2.546 billion compared with $2.453 billion the previous year.
Diaspora remittances is now Kenya’s leading source of forex, ahead of tourism and agricultural exports such as tea, coffee and horticulture. Figures provided by CBK are considered as estimates due to the fact that remittances through other unofficial channels are usually not captured, meaning that dollar inflows in Kenya could be higher than what CBK reports.
North America accounts for the largest bulk of remittances to Kenya, followed by Europe while the rest of the world combined accounts the rest, at about 28 per cent.
The Kenya Shilling weakened against major international and regional currencies during the week ending April 23. The monetary authority attributes this trend to a build-up in dollar demand. The local unit exchanged at KSh 107.41 per US dollar on April 23 compared to KSh 105.91 on April 16.
There was increased volatility in international oil prices during the week, reflecting the collapse of global demand as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Murban oil price also declined from US$20.70 per barrel on April 16 to US$ 14.32 per barrel on April 22 before recovering to US$ 19.04 per barrel on April 23.