Against a backdrop of tepid global growth, remittance flows to low and middle income countries seem to have entered a “new normal” of slow growth
| October 8, 2016
Remittances to the South Asian region are expected to decline by 2.3 percent in 2016, following a 1.6 percent decline in 2015. Remittances from the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries continued to decline due to lower oil prices and labour market ‘nationalization’ policies in Saudi Arabia, said a World Bank report “Trends in Remittances, 2016: A New Normal of Slow Growth”
“In 2016, remittance flows are expected to decline by 5 percent in India and 3.5 percent in Bangladesh, whereas they are expected to grow by 5.1 percent in Pakistan and 1.6 percent in Sri Lanka,” the report said.
Against a backdrop of tepid global growth, remittance flows to low and middle income countries (LMICs) seem to have entered a “new normal” of slow growth. In 2016, remittance flows to LMICs are projected to reach $442 billion, marking an increase of 0.8 percent over 2015. The modest recovery in 2016 is largely driven by the increase in remittance flows to Latin America and the Caribbean on the back of a stronger economy in the United States; by contrast remittance flows to all other developing regions either declined or recorded a deceleration in growth.
The top recipients of remittances are, in nominal US dollar terms, India, China, the Philippines, Mexico and Pakistan and, in terms of remittances as a share of GDP, Nepal, Liberia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyz Republic and Haiti.
The report went on to say that besides weak economic growth in remittance-source countries, cyclical low oil prices have dampened the growth of remittance flows from Russia and the GCC countries. More worrisome are structural factors such as de-risking by commercial banks, the labor market ‘nationalization’ policies in some GCC countries (that discourage demand for migrant workers) and exchange controls in many countries faced with adverse balance of payments and falling international reserves.
Read the complete report here
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