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Remittances from abroad drop by 36.5 per cent

By | February 28th 2009

By Macharia Kamau and Reuters

Kenyans abroad remitted Sh3.1 billion ($39.5 million) last month, data from Central Bank of Kenya show.

This represented a 36.5 per cent drop compared to more than Sh4 billion ($53.9 million) remitted in January last year.

The data also shows a sustained decline in the amount remitted into the country over the past one year.

Analysts had last year said the money the country receives from the Diaspora would drop owing to the global financial crisis that has hit major global markets.

Western European and North American markets account for much of the remittances that Kenya gets.

The crisis has led to companies employing cost saving strategies, including pay cuts and lay offs and a significant number of Kenyans working abroad might have been affected. Last year, Kenyans living abroad sent home Sh49 billion, an increase of about Sh3 billion compared to the Sh46 billion received in 2007.

The increase last year was, however, marginal compared to the Sh13 billion increase recorded the previous year.

Meanwhile, the shilling was unchanged against the dollar in a slow session yesterday and dealers said the unit lacked incentives to break out of its present range.

Commercial banks posted the local currency at Sh79.65/75 versus the greenback, the same as Thursday’s close.

"The shilling is trading flat. Both sides of the counter are fairly well balanced. We expect the currency to trade at these ranges for today," said Co-operative Bank’s senior dealer, Stephen Kimani.

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