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October 11, 2019

Remittances drop 1.4pc to $5.478bln in July-Sept

Business

October 11, 2019

KARACHI: Remittances from Pakistani overseas workers dropped 1.43 percent to $5.478 billion in the first quarter of the current fiscal year, mainly as a consequence of sluggish economic activities in the top source countries, central bank’s data showed on Thursday.

Remittances stood at $5.557 billion in the corresponding period of last year. In September 2019, these inflows, however, rose to $1.747 billion from $1.486 billion in the same month

last year.

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) data revealed that expatriates living in Saudi Arabia sent home $1.269 billion in July September fiscal year 2020, compared with $1.263 billion remitted in the corresponding month of FY2019.

Remittances from the United Arab Emirates dropped 7.19 percent to $1.139 billion for the period under review from $1.227 billion recorded in the first three months of the last fiscal year.

However, the country attracted $911.69 million in remittances from the United States of America in July-September, compared with $862.76 million last year. Remittances from the United Kingdom remained flat at $814.37 million in the first three months of this fiscal, compared with $810.16 million in the same period last fiscal year. However, inflows from the Britain rose to $264.89 million in September 2019, from $216.75 million received in the same month a year ago.

Pakistani workers in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries sent home $519.43 million, compared $526.96 million last year, a fall of 1.43 percent. Analysts said the slowdown in remittance flows is not a good sign for the country’s balance of payments.

“We expect the growth in remittances to remain in the high single digits in the current fiscal year as economic growth in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region faces slowdown. However, the initiatives taken by the government could improve remittances through banking channels,” they added.

“Remittance business is vital for the economy. Therefore, the government has taken the right measures to boost the inflows and banks have quickly adopted the measures as being the facilitation arms,” said a senior banker.

"Banks not only facilitate over-the-counter remittances (senders) but convert them into accountholders so that remittances can be availed by beneficiaries easily and can be utilised through various banking instruments,” he added.

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