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September 14, 2019

Remittances fall 17.11pc to $1.690bln in August


September 14, 2019

KARACHI: Pakistani living abroad sent 17.11 percent less money home in August compared with the previous month of July 2019, the central bank said on Friday.

Overseas Pakistani workers remitted $1.690 billion in August 2019 from $2.039 billion in July.

“This showed a decline of $348.4 million on month-on-month basis, reflecting the usual one-off post Eid-ul-Azha effect,” the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) said in a statement.

On cumulative basis, workers’ remittances stood at $3.730 billion during July-August FY20 compared with $4.071 billion recorded in the same period last year. Remittances, one of the country’s biggest sources of foreign currency, fell 8.37 percent in the first two months of the current fiscal year of 2019/20.

Migrant cash flows, which are a lifeline for the country’s struggling current account deficit, are expected to weaken more in the coming months as the US economic slowdown and its trade war with China hits global economy.

The State Bank of Pakistan’s country specific data revealed that Pakistani workers living in Saudi Arabia sent home $377.58 million in August 2019, compared with the inflow of $465.53 million sent in the corresponding month last year.

Remittances from the United Arab Emirates dropped to $348.51 million in August 2019 from $473.11 million in August 2018.

The country fetched $297.41 million from the United States of America, compared with $294.90 million in August last year. Remittances from the United Kingdom rose to $250.20 million from $193.17 million.

Pakistani workers living in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries sent home $158.60 million, compared with $193.17 million in previous month.

“Remittances received from Malaysia, Norway, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Japan and other countries during August 2019 amounted to $200.42 million together as against $272.62 million received in August 2018,” the bank said.

The SBP, however, expects the government’s efforts taken under Pakistan Remittance Initiative (PRI) to support the higher remittance flows in the FY2020. PRI facilitated local exchange companies to increase their tie-ups with the international money transfer operators.

The government targets workers’ remittances to reach the level of $24 billion during the current fiscal year of 2019/20.

The central banks also allowed exchange companies to start work on directly attracting worker remittances from the countries from where the inflows remain nominal. Remittances to Pakistan rose 9.68 percent to $21.841 billion in the last fiscal year, compared with a previous year.

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