Saudi Arabia is Now Kenya’s Top Import Market Ahead of China

Saudi oil

Saudi Arabia has overtaken China to become Kenya’s leading import market. Other top import countries include India and the United Arab Emirates.

Imports from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia almost tripled in March, reaching KSH 32.27 billion as the demand for petroleum products increased in the country.

Imports from China reached KSH 30.34 billion while those from India were recorded at KSH 27.32 billion. Imports from the UAE reached KSH 13.93 billion in the same period.

This new trend comes after Kenya struck a deal with Saudi Arabia for the importation of cheap fuel from the Middle Eastern country in June last year.

The KNBS data show the surge in imports from Saudi Arabia in March was largely driven by increased shipment of gas oil (diesel), the bulk of which was previously sourced from the UAE.

Oil marketers shipped in nearly 123.61 million litres of gas oil at a cost of Sh13.84 billion in the review month, followed by jet fuel (Sh6.75 billion) and fertiliser (Sh6.51 billion).

China has been the leading import country, driven by the importation of electrical and electronic equipment, machinery, iron and plastics.

However, the value of petroleum products from the Middle East have skyrocketed in the recent past due to a significant rise in global oil prices.

In fact, petroleum is the major cause of trade deficit in Kenya since we are dependent on gas oil from other countries.

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