Data released by the Central Bank of Kenya says, cash saved by Kenyans in foreign currencies at local commercial banks, rose to Sh803.6 billion in December last year, marking the first time the figure has crossed the Sh800 billion mark.
Foreign currency savings grew 8.5 percent to Sh803.6 billion in December 2021 compared to Sh740.6 billion a year earlier.
Also analysts say depositors were accumulating the hard currencies as a hedge against the depreciating shilling which has been under pressure since May last year.
The shilling, now trading at an all-time low of 113.65 units to the dollar, has declined 5.19 percent from the 107.75 seen in May last year.
In January Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) data also showed that remittances from Kenyans living in the diaspora grew by 10 per cent last year despite economic uncertainty due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
t Kenyans in the diaspora sent home Sh3.4 billion in the 11-months to November last year compared to Sh3.1 billion same period the previous year.
Remittances from abroad grew from Sh0.9 billion in 2011 to Sh3.4 in ten years, sustaining Kenyans during tough times such as 2020 when earnings from tourism, and other sectors dried out.
Of the amount sent last year, Sh2.1 billion came from North America while about Sh630 million came from Europe and another Sh629 from the rest of the world.
Money sent by Kenyans abroad mostly is sent to families and friends for food and school fees with less long term returns.
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