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Friday December 09, 2022

Remittances fall amid widening exchange rate differential

Inflows slow down to $2.2bn due to global slowdown, widening exchange rate differential

November 11, 2022
A man counts one hundred US dollar bills in Bogota, on October 24, 2022. — AFP/File
A man counts one hundred US dollar bills in Bogota, on October 24, 2022. — AFP/File

KARACHI: The remittances sent home by overseas Pakistanis fell over 9% month-on-month to $2.2 billion in October owing to a widening exchange rate differential in the open and interbank market and global slowdown.

According to data released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Friday, the inflow of remittances had declined by 15.7% compared to $2.62 billion recorded in the same period of the previous fiscal year.

However, remittances declined by 9% on a year-on-year basis to $9.9 billion in four months (July-October) of the current fiscal year 2022-23.

Speaking to The News, Pakistan-Kuwait Investment Company Head of Research Samiullah Tariq cited three major reasons behind a decline in inflows:

  • Rise in global interest rates diverting dollars
  • Higher inflation reduces disposable income
  • Gap between official and unofficial exchange rates has

Analysts also attributed the decline to smuggling and higher rates offered in informal and illegal channels as the reasons behind the second consecutive decline.

It should be noted that during this month, the gap in dollar rate widened between the formal and informal markets. As a result, a large chunk of remittances had been channelled towards informal markets through hundi and hawala.

Despite the rupee remaining stable in the interbank market last month, a shortage of dollars and even other currencies was witnessed in the open market.

However, Tariq predicted that with the steps the government is taking, remittances should improve going forward.

Country-wise data

Pakistanis residing in Saudi Arabia remitted the largest amount of $570.5 million in October 2022. However, it was 7.47% lower than the $616.86 million received in September 2022.

Expatriates in the UAE sent home 9.97% less amount as receipts declined from $474.3 million to $427 million.

Remittances from overseas Pakistanis in the UK dropped 9.42% to $278.8 million. They sent $307.8 million in September.

Moreover, remittances from other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries decreased by 12.64% to $258.3 million and a 10.36% decrease was recorded in inflows from European countries, which clocked in at $232.7 million in the month under review compared to September.