Tea and flowers to keep rising Kenyan current account deficit in check


(Adds details on deficit)
    By George ObulutsaNAIROBI, May 30 (Reuters) - Kenya's central bank governor on
Tuesday said the country's current account deficit will rise
this year but be held down by exports of tea and horticulture
    Governor Patrick Njoroge told a news conference the current
account defit was likely to rise to 5.8 percent of gross
domestic product from 5.2 percent in 2016.
    But the commodities inflows would help to keep it from
widening further.
    In January, the bank said it expected the current account
deficit to be around 5.3 percent of GDP in 2016, down from 6.8
percent in 2015. [nL5N1F96EM]
    "We continue to project a current account deficit of 5.8
percent for the year, that is 2017, which we see as an
appropriate level," he said.
    Njoroge said the final current deficit figure for last year
was 5.2 percent of GDP. The deficit stood at 6 percent in March.
    "Our export sector has been doing well in some commodities,
for instance, tea and horticulture," he said.
    "Imports also have remained low. Of course there are
seasonal issues; just recently we imported a lot of rolling
stock for the SGR (standard gauge railway)," he added, referring
to months when the deficit rose.
    In the year to February, Kenya's current account deficit
widened to 5.8 percent of GDP from 5.5 percent in the same month
a year earlier.[nL8N1IS2QE]
    Njoroge was speaking a day after the central bank held its
benchmark lending rate <KECBIR=ECI> at 10.0 percent, saying the
policy reduced the threat of demand-driven

 (Reporting by George Obulutsa; Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)
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