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Kenya March Trade Deficit Widens 22 Percent as Oil Imports Rise

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May 30 (Bloomberg) -- Kenya’s trade deficit widened in March as fuel imports rose to the highest in seven months.

The gap increased 22 percent from a year earlier to 80.3 billion shillings ($930 million), the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics said today on its website. Imports rose 14 percent to 124.6 billion shillings, with fuel shipments accounting for about a third of the total, while exports increased 1.1 percent to 44.4 billion shillings. The three-month trade gap was 197.5 billion shillings, up 18 percent from last year.

Kenya, the world’s largest exporter of black tea, sold 31,280 metric tons of the leaves in March, down 13 percent from a year earlier, earning 7.8 billion shillings. Coffee sales rose 21 percent to 5,069 metric tons.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah McGregor in Nairobi at smcgregor5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net.

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