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Business

January 11, 2018

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Remittances increase 9.32pc to $1.723bln in December

KARACHI: Pakistanis abroad sent home nearly $2.4 billion in transfers in December 2017, a 9.32 percent higher than the previous month, marking their fastest pace of expansion since September 2017, central bank data showed on Wednesday.

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The inflow of remittances, however, rose a meager 2.52 percent year-on-year to $9.744 billion in the first half of the current fiscal year of 2017/18.

Analysts said the improvement in remittances was due to improved inflows from almost all major sending countries except the Gulf Corporation Countries. Most remittances came from the Saudi Arabia, followed by United Arab Emirates and United States.

“Growth in inflows in the month of December is a seasonal phenomenon and remittances are seen to stay flat at $19 billion during the current fiscal year,” said an analyst. The government targets inflows of $20.7 billion during the fiscal year, while the central bank expects inflows to be between $19 billion and $20 billion. Workers’ remittances in the fiscal year reached $19.3 billion.

The central bank data showed that the country received $431.97 million in remittances from Saudi Arabia in December, compared with $409.52 million in November.

During December 2017, remittances from the UAE market rose to $396.74 million against $352.64 million in the previous month.

The inflows from GCC states, however, fell to $188.76 million in December from $191.83 million in November. Remittances witnessed a marginal rise in the six months of FY18 due to sluggish inflows from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and GCC states. But expatriates mostly living in the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union countries sent more money back home during the period under review.

Remittances have grown steadily for the last fiscal year as labour market trends changed in the Gulf region amid slowdown in the economy. Resultantly, hundreds of overseas Pakistani workers have forced to leave their jobs in the main sources for remittance flows -- Saudi Arabia, UAE, and other Middle East countries.

Remittances from Saudi Arabia in the first six months of the fiscal year 2017/18 stood at $2.530 billion, down 7.47 percent from a year ago.

Pakistanis living in the UAE sent home country $2.160 billion in July-December FY18 against $2.136 billion a year earlier.

Remittances received from GCC countries amounted to $1.128 billion in six months of FY18 against $1.155 billion during last year.

Analysts said it’s encouraging that the country has emerged as a big recipient of remittances from the USA, United Kingdom and European Union . Pakistan attracted $1.350 billion worth of inflows from the UK in July-December FY18, which was 23 percent higher than a year earlier.

Remittances from the US amounted to $1.280 billion, showing a 9.24 percent increase over the same period last year. The cash transfers from the European Union surged 36.71 percent to $314.95 million in July-December FY18.

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