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Kenya current account gap seen shrinking in 2016: CBK governor

13 May 2016, 16:41

Nairobi - Kenya's current account deficit is expected to shrink faster than forecast to about 6.2 percent of gross domestic product in 2016, helped by rising agricultural exports and falling fuel import costs, the central bank governor said.

Earlier forecasts had indicated the current account deficit would be 8 percent in 2016.

The current deficit "will probably fall by maybe 0.3 percent" from the 6.5 percent of gross domestic product at the end of 2015, taking it as low as 6.2 percent, Governor Patrick Njoroge told Reuters. More assessments were going on.

"That is a very rough number," he said, speaking in an interview late on Thursday on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on Africa in the Rwandan capital Kigali.

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The deficit had fallen on the back of improving tea and horticulture exports, two of Kenya's main revenue earners, as well as rising remittances from Kenyans living abroad.

"The price of oil has fallen dramatically and that will provide some relief," he added.

Kenya's currency has strengthened more than 1 percent against the dollar this year and foreign reserves have risen steadily, reaching $7.7 billion in May or more than five months import cover, compared with less than four months last October.

"We do have enough reserves," he said, adding that a stand-by facility with the International Monetary Fund offered further insurance. "We have taken out insurance, we will use it in case of a shock. We have enough elbow room."

- Reuters


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