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Kenya's internal debt swells to 16 bln USD in February

14 March 2016, 15:04

Nairobi - Kenya's domestic debt has surged to 16 billion U.S. dollars as of the end of February, a rise of about 1 billion dollars in the month, as the government borrows more internally for budgetary support.

The sharp increase of the debt, latest debt data from the Central Bank of Kenya showed Saturday, happened between February and the start of March.

At the end of January, the debt stood at 15.1 billion dollars before starting to rise steadily as the government floated several Treasury bonds and increased uptake of bids from Treasury bills.

The bonds floated in February are the five and 10 years securities whose interest rates stood at 14 and 14.3 percent respectively.

The bonds worth 248 million dollars attracted massive interest from investors raising more than double the amount.

The CBK received bids worth over 533 million dollars and accepted 299 million dollars, about 50 million dollars more than the cash it had planned to raise.

More cash was raised through the sale of Treasury bills, where investors too have flocked as the apex bank accepts more bids than it had offered.

At the end of February, the CBK data showed that the high uptake of government securities had pushed up the domestic debt to 15.3 billion dollars before rising to the current level.

The surge pushes up total public debt, which stood at 30 billion dollars at the end of the year, with the external debt contributing 15 billion dollars of the amount.

Growth of external debt, according to the Central Bank, was due to increased disbursements from Exim Bank China, concessional loans from International Development Association (IDA) and exchange rate revaluation.

Domestic debt is expected to surge as government's appetite for public cash grows.

This week, for instance, the CBK borrowed 200 million dollars through the 182-day and 364-day T-bills despite floating securities worth 118 million dollars.

For the 91-day bills, the bank accepted bids worth 91 million dollars despite seeking to raise 40 million dollars.

In its Budget Policy Statement released last month, the Treasury revised down by 492 million dollars its domestic borrowing target to 1.7 billion dollars from 2.2 billion dollars.

With increased borrowing from domestic market, this target, noted analysts, may not be achieved.

- Xinhua


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