Remittances rise 16% with start of new fiscal year


KARACHI: Overseas Pakistani workers sent home $1.542 billion in July 2017, up 16.1% compared with $1.328 billion in the corresponding period of 2016, according to data released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Thursday.

Overall remittances in fiscal year 2016-17 (FY17) ended June 30, 2017 were $19.3 billion, down 3% compared with $19.91 billion in FY16.

During June, the last month of FY17, the inflow of remittances amounted to $1.84 billion, down 11.2% compared with $2.07 billion in June 2016.

Reduced remittances

Remittances coming from the Gulf countries, which contribute 63% to the overall remittances, have dropped drastically due to a sharp fall in crude oil prices that has hurt the region’s economies.

Resultantly, thousands of Pakistanis have lost their jobs over the past two years or so, especially in Saudi Arabia – the largest source of remittances for Pakistan that contributes over 25% to the total receipts.

Money coming from Saudi Arabia stood at $409 million in July 2017, up 8% compared with $379 million in the same month of previous year.

Remittances from the UAE stood at $335 million, up 14% compared with $294 million in July 2016. Overseas Pakistanis in the US sent $194 million in July 2017, up 14% compared with $170 million.

The biggest jump was seen in remittances from the UK, which stood at $199 million, up 38% compared with $144 million. Pakistanis living in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, which included Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman, sent $192 million in July 2017, up 13% compared with $170 million in July 2016.

Remittances from European Union (EU) countries stood at $52 million, up 44% compared with $36 million in the same month of last year.

Remittances up 19% in March, but nine-month figure still lower

Remittances received from Norway, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Japan and other countries combined during July 2017 amounted to $161 million, up 17.5% compared with $137 million in July 2016.

Global economic slowdown mainly due to low crude oil prices has significantly hit the countries that heavily depend on remittances and Pakistan’s case is no exception.

Britain’s planned exit from the EU, known as Brexit, has also badly affected the money that annually comes to Pakistan. Despite the global economic slowdown, remittances coming from EU countries are continuously increasing which augurs well for Pakistan’s economy. In FY17, Pakistan received $483 million from EU states, up 15.5% compared with $418 million in FY16.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2017.

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Originally Posted on Tribune


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