The Kenyan shilling depreciated by 0.3 percent against the US dollar to close the week at 117.7 shillings, from 117.3 shillings recorded the previous week, partly attributable to increased dollar demand from the oil and energy sectors.
Key to note, this is the lowest the Kenyan shilling has ever depreciated against the dollar. On a year-to-date basis, the shilling has depreciated by 4.0 percent against the dollar, in comparison to the 3.6 percent depreciation recorded in 2021.
Pressure on the shilling will continue from the rising global crude oil prices on the back of supply constraints and geopolitical pressures at a time when demand is picking up with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and as economies reopen.
The Increased demand from merchandise traders as they beef up their hard currency positions in anticipation of more trading partners reopening their economies globally will continue piling pressure on the shilling.
An ever-present current account deficit due to an imbalance between imports and exports, with Kenya’s current account deficit, estimated to come in at 5.1 percent of GDP in the 12 months to April 2022 compared to the 4.8 percent for a similar period in 2021.
The aggressively growing government debt, with Kenya’s public debt, has increased at a 10-year CAGR of 18.6 percent to 8.2 trillion shillings in December 2021, from 1.5 trillion shillings in December 2011 thus putting pressure on forex reserves to service some of the public debt.
Support will likely come from the High Forex reserves currently at USD 8.2 bn (equivalent to 4.9-months of import cover), which is above the statutory requirement of maintaining at least 4.0-months of import cover, and the EAC region’s convergence criteria of 4.5-months of import cover.
The Improving diaspora remittances are evidenced by a 7.6 percent y/y increase to USD 339.7 mn as of May 2022, from USD 315.8 mn recorded over the same period in 2021 which has continued to cushion the shilling against further depreciation.
In the recently released May 2022 diaspora remittances figures, North America remained the largest source of remittances to Kenya accounting for 59.9 percent in the period, followed by Europe at 17.8 percent while the rest of the world accounted for 22.3 percent of the total.
Related Content: 2Kg Packet of Maize Flour Surpasses the 200 Shillings Mark