Remittances exceed $2bn for 12th straight month with highest inflows from Saudi Arabia, UAE

Published in DAWN on June 10, 2021

Remittances from Pakistani workers employed abroad exceeded $2 billion for the 12th month in a row in May 2021, with the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) crediting “proactive policy measures by the Government and the State Bank of Pakistan encouraging expats to use formal channels for their transactions” for the record inflows.

The statement added that curtailed cross border travel in the face of Covid-19, altruistic transfers to Pakistan amid the pandemic, and orderly foreign exchange market conditions have contributed to record levels of remittances this year.

“On a cumulative basis, remittances surged to $26.7bn during July-May this fiscal year, higher by 29.4 per cent over the same period last year,” the SBP said. “Remittances during the first eleven months of the outgoing fiscal year have already crossed the full FY20 level by $3.6bn,” it added.

According to the central bank, “Remittances received during May 2021 amounted to $2.5bn, which is 33.5pc higher than the same month last year. These were also higher than the monthly average of $2.4bn during July-April in the fiscal year 2020-21.”

However, on a month-on-month basis, workers’ remittances fell by 10.4pc in May 2021, compared to last month, when it rose to an all-time high of $2.8bn. “This fall was expected as remittances usually get slower in the period post Eidul Fitr,” the SBP underlined.

The central bank explained that “the seasonal decline in May 2021 was less than half the average decline observed during fiscal years 2016-2019. While in FY2020, remittances experienced an exceptional rise due to the easing of Covid lockdowns in the post-Eid period in Gulf countries.”

It further said the remittance inflows during July-May FY21 were mainly sourced from Saudi Arabia ($7bn), United Arab Emirates ($5.6bn), United Kingdom ($3.7bn) and the United States ($2.5bn).

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