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UPDATE 1-Kenyan economic growth slows as agriculture lags
December 23, 2016 / 2:24 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Kenyan economic growth slows as agriculture lags

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NAIROBI, Dec 23 (Reuters) - Kenyan growth eased in the third quarter of 2016 due to a slowdown in most sectors, especially agriculture, the statistics body said on Friday.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) said the economy expanded by 5.7 percent year-on-year in the third quarter compared with 6.0 percent in the same period in 2015.

Agriculture, forestry and fishing grew 3.9 percent versus 5.5 percent in the year-ago period, though accommodation and food services - which includes tourism - rose 13.8 percent compared with a contraction of 6.5 percent.

“Generally, the economic growth was well spread although most of the sectors of the economy recorded slowed growths,” KNBS said.

Tourism, along with tea, horticulture and remittances, are Kenya’s leading sources of foreign exchange.

In 2015, East Africa’s biggest economy struggled with a number of challenges including attacks blamed on Somalia’s al Shabaab militants that scared away tourists and eroded foreign exchange earnings in the sector.

Growth in the finance sector slowed to 6.1 percent in the quarter under review from 10.3 percent in the same period of 2015, while the transport sector rose to 10.3 percent from 9.4 percent, KNBS said.

The Finance Ministry forecasts the economy will grow 6 percent in 2016 and by 7 percent a year in the medium term, compared with 5.6 percent last year.

The statistics office said the current account deficit shrank 10.4 per cent to 100.6 billion shillings ($983.86 million) during the quarter. ($1 = 102.2500 Kenyan shillings)

Writing by Aaron Maasho; Editing by Susan Thomas

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