Client Brief: Kenya $113M

Client Brief: Kenya $113M

Country overview

Country name: Republic of Kenya

Capital: Nairobi

Government Type: presidential republic

Population: 57,052,004 (2023 est.)

Economic overview

Fast growing, third largest Sub-Saharan economy; strong agriculture and emerging services and tourism industries; current account deficit and high debt; broadband and mobile-money platform investments; surging inflation due to oil and food hikes; new investor-friendly incentives; environmentally fragile economy

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$251.431 billion (2021 est.)

$233.852 billion (2020 est.)

$234.438 billion (2019 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars
country comparison to the world: 62

Kenya’s economic system comprises of the banking, insurance, capital markets, pensions, and unregulated financial services providers. it’s supported by a strong financial markets infrastructure that facilitates payments, settlement and custodial services. The financial set-up is extremely interconnected, diversified and segmented with increased cross border operations. Adoption of FinTechs has transformed the world in terms of products and services through innovations. Complexity of the financial sector has resulted to the establishment of non-operating holding companies to manage operations of those complex entities. While this transformation and growth in complexity has brought efficiency and synergies in resource use and profit maximization, it’s also become a growing source of potential risks, including episodes of fraud and cyber security attacks. However, the economic system was generally stable in 2019, and is ready to face up to macro financial shock thanks to COVID-19 pandemic.

The Capital Markets Authority (CMA) licensed intermediaries as at June 30, 2020 included; Securities Exchange (1), Central Depositories (1), Investment Banks (16), Stockbrokers (10), Investment advisers (14), Fund Managers (25), Collective Investment Schemes (24), Authorized depositories/Custodians (19), Credit Rating Agencies (5), assets investment firm (REIT) Managers (9), REIT Trustees (3), Employee Share Ownership Plans (16) and Authorized property Investment Trusts (1). The industry licensees’ assets increased from KSh 23.70 billion in 2018 to KSh 28 billion in 2019 .

The key equity market indices, which were already in decline in 2019 but have gotten worse within the half of 2020, show that the capital markets sector remains vulnerable because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The fragility within the equities markets might be explained by difficult businesses conditions facing listed companies and corporates generally. additionally, the interest rates capping law affected banks, whose stocks form a big portion of the equities market. The emergence of COVID-19 has complicated an already fragile market. The market leading indicators, closed June 2020 at all-time low level within the last eight years.

The diminishing participation of international business funding Kenya investors at the NSE could also be the reason behind the poor performance of the equity market. the common foreign investor participation to total equity turnover declined from 73.7 percent in December 2018 to 68.6 percent in December 2019 before further decline to 60.6 percent be end July 2020.

The majority of international business funding Kenya investors net outflowed from the local exchange by selling more shares than they bought. Poor corporate governance in certain listed firms that were losing money and were later delisted or put into receivership may additionally be accountable for the poor performance, then delisted and/or placed under receivership. The COVID-19 pandemic further weakened the firms, which led to overall net outflows by foreign investors to chop losses. Whereas sell-offs by foreign investors may reduce liquidity of stocks within the equity market, it also creates opportunity for local investors to shop for undervalued blue-chip stocks. Introduction of other investment segments like the ABSA Gold Exchange Trade Fund (ETF) and derivatives market provides investors opportunities to diversify their portfolio and hedge against risks. The liquidity ratio of equity market declined from 8.4 percent in 2018 to six.1 percent in 2019, contributing to say no in prices and increase in volatility . the highest 5 companies accounted for over 90 percent of the equity turnover during the amount, reflecting concentration risk and illiquidity of other companies’ shares. The gazettement of Securities Lending and Borrowing Regulations in 2017 to operationalize lending and borrowing against securities and short sale are expected to boost liquidity going forward. the most risks within the last two years to June 2020 include; high concentration by top five companies and foreign investors, low liquidity, low products uptake, political and economic risks. As at December 2019, top five companies by market capitalisation accounted for 70.9 percent compared to 65.8 percent in 2018. Compared to 63.3 percent in 2018, 68.6 percent of the whole equity turnover in 2019 was made of foreign investors. Derivative market establishment has decreased share price volatility, with the Nairobi All Share Index (NASI) volatility averaging 0.48 in 2019 compared to 0.55 in 2018. Corporate bonds component of the Fixed Income Securities segment has dried up, both for primary issuances and secondary trading. Since 2015, the sole new issuance was the primary Green Bond by a people land developer, Acorn Holdings and personal equity fund Helios in October 2019. the worth of outstanding bonds on the secondary market declined to KSh 23.2 billion for six issues in June 2020 from a previous high of KSh 86.8 billion for 17 issues in 2016.

As at June 2020, the banking system comprised; 38 commercial banks, 1 mortgage nondepository financial institution, 14 MFBs, 9 representative offices of foreign banks, 68 exchange bureaus, 19 money remittance providers and three credit reference bureaus. The industry was resilient in 2019 despite interest rates controls and sluggish economy, registering a 9.6 percent growth in assets and 9.1 percent growth in deposits. the entire net assets of the industry amounted to KSh 4,832.4 billion in December 2019 and KSh 5,207.82 billion in June 2020, of which about 53 percent were in loans and advances and 13.6 percent in government securities.

The increase in deposits is attributed to more usage of digital finance including mobile money, agency banking, and demonetization of KSh 1,000 notes in 2019. The resilience of the industry is additionally reflected within the high capital levels in regard to assets. As at end June of 2020, the Core Capital to Total Risk Weighted Assets (TRWA) and Total Capital to TRWA ratios were 16.4 percent and 18.5 percent, compared to 16.8 percent and 18.8 percent, respectively as at end of December 2019. The Core Capital to TRWA and Total Capital to TRWA ratios are above the minimum regulatory requirements of 10.5 percent and 14.5 percent, respectively. the soundness of the Core Capital to TRWA and Total Capital to TRWA ratios at a lower level compared to the next level in 2013, indicates increase within the efficiency utilising capital. Over time, the banking sector has seen many liquidity, with average levels well exceeding the legal minimum of 20 percent. However, if long run government bonds are excluded from assets, the liquidity ratio shrinks to 26.5 percent in December 2019 and 27.1 percent in June 2020. Government securities are therefore major factor of banks liquidity and so a change in their treatment, in computing liquidity ratios, will significantly affect banks’ liquidity buffers. Deposits remain a key funding source for banks, with the ratio of gross advances to gross deposits increasing to 79.6 percent in December 2019 from 76.8 percent in December 2018.

Reduced profit before taxes were caused by a rise in bad debts costs and a decrease in fees as a results of waiving fees for bank-mobile money transactions (PBT). The PBT declined by 30 percent within the half of 2020 compared to five percent increase in 2019. In tandem with PBT, both the ROA and ROE declined in 2019 through the primary half 2020 compared to 2018. Banks within the medium and little peer groups incurred losses. The decline in profits reduces reserves to create capital and liquidity buffers furthermore as viability of banks. Nevertherless, the banking industry’s outlook is anticipated to stay stable and resilient in 2020 albeit potential negative effects of COVID-19 pandemic on assets quality and overall performance metrics. This however, depends on the intensity and duration of the pandemic, which remains uncertain. Overall, the industry has sufficient capital buffers to face up to the COVID-19 pandemic shock, supported by the mitigation measures put in situ by the govt. and financial institutions. Other regulatory measures that enabled the banking sector to be resilient include the Kenya Banking Sector Charter of 2019 which entrenches a responsibility and discipline within the banking system. The Banking Sector Charter is anchored on adoption of customer-centric business models, risk-based credit-pricing, transparency and ethical banking. The repeal of the Interest Rates Capping Law in November 2019 to permit market-determined credit pricing; market-driven bank consolidation; publication of revised Credit Information Sharing System (CIS) Regulations in April 2020 will strengthen consumer protection and improve business environment for banks. The Guidance Note on COVID-19 Pandemic Planning in March 2020 to organize banks to house the crisis, mitigation measures taken by banks to ease pressure on borrowers reduced credit risk.