Kenya’s import bill for petroleum products soared in the first nine months of the year following higher crude oil prices in source markets.
The latest data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows that imports from Kenya’s main source of Murban crude oil, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), increased 98% to reach 122.4 billion shillings in September, compared to 61.7 billion shillings. at the same time last year.
A large part of Kenya’s imports from the United Arab Emirates (72 percent) is mainly refined petroleum. Imports from the United Arab Emirates have increased the most compared to other trading partners.
Saudi Arabia, another source of Kenya’s refined oil, increased its exports to Kenya by 38.3 percent to 79.4 billion shillings.
In its balance of payments report for the second quarter, KNBS noted that in the first half of 2021, import spending increased by almost two-fifths – from 350.8 billion shillings in the second quarter of 2020 to 484 billion. , 5 billion shillings during the same period. in 2021.
“The growth is largely attributable to a marked increase in imports of petroleum products which more than doubled – from 30 billion shillings in the second quarter of 2020 to 70.2 billion shillings in the second quarter of 2021,” KNBS said. .
The state attributed the increase in imports of petroleum products to higher demand for the product, brought on by the relaxation of travel restrictions imposed to combat the spread of the coronavirus disease.
In recent months, consumers have spoken out against the high cost of petroleum, which is essential in the transportation sector and the production of consumer products, including manufactured and agricultural products.
While the myriad of taxes contribute a large part of petroleum products, the surge in the price of crude oil has pushed up the price of oil landed at the port of Mombasa.
Murban’s oil price rose 71.3% to $ 83.20 per barrel on November 25, 2021, from $ 48.57 per barrel on November 26 last year.
The situation is made worse by a weak shilling which fell to an all time high, trading at Sh112.44 per US dollar yesterday. The cost of crude oil and how the local currency compares to major world currencies, especially the greenback, determine the direction of prices at the pump.
The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra) recently warned of rising fuel prices when its Managing Director Daniel Kiptoo appeared before the National Assembly’s Finance and National Planning Committee .
“Looking at the trend, we have seen a further surge in international crude oil prices… We will see prices rise, maybe not this month, but over the next two months,” he said.
Mr Kiptoo explained that the energy sector regulator uses crude oil prices from the previous month – in this case, September – and the first few days of the following month to determine prices for any pricing cycle.
“The prices we publish are calculated on the basis of the cargo that landed between the 9th of the previous month and the 10th of the following month,” he told MPs.
The high cost of fuel is behind the recent surge in the prices of goods and services, with an inflation rate of 6.45% at the end of October.