Global remittances to decline by 7% – 10% this year

The World Bank is expecting that remittances back to developing countries will decline by 7% to 10% in 2009 compared to 2008, but will modestly grow in 2010. By 2010, the bank estimates remittances to be about $313 billion.
The Bank reported the size and relative value of remittances to receiving countries as follows:
Overall, the top recipients of migrant remittances among all developing countries last year, according to the report, were India ($52 billion); China ($40.6 billion); Mexico ($26.3 billion); the Philippines ($18.6 billion); Poland ($10.7 billion); Nigeria ($10 billion); Egypt ($9.6 billion); Romania ($9.4 billion); Bangladesh ($9.0 billion); and Vietnam ($7.2 billion).
The top recipients of migrant remittances as a percentage of GDP were Tajikistan (46 percent); Tonga (39 percent); Moldova (34 percent); Lesotho (28 percent); Guyana (26 percent); Lebanon (24 percent); Samoa (23 percent); Jordan (22 percent); Honduras (21 percent); and Kyrgyzstan (19 percent), according to the report.
The article in full:


Washington, DC (IPS) — The amount of money immigrants from poor countries send to their families back home is expected to decline between 7 percent and 10 percent in 2009 compared with 2008 levels, according to a new report released here on Monday by the World Bank.
Poor countries in Europe and Central Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean will be hardest hit, according to the report, which was released during the opening session of a two-day International Conference on Diaspora and Development at the bank’s headquarters here.
The decline is expected to bottom out next year, however. Remittances should begin a gradual rebound in 2010, reaching $313 billion worldwide by the end of the year, or 3 percent greater than the $304 billion that is currently estimated for 2009
The decline in remittances has not been remotely as dramatic, according to the new report. Indeed, the bank said it was surprised by the strength of remittances in 2008; they actually rose 15 percent overall in 2008, from $285 billion to $328 billion, according to the bank’s estimates.
It said remittances to South Asia, much of them from the Gulf states, actually grew 33 percent last year, with India alone reporting inflows of $52 billion.
Remittances to East Asia, especially to China and the Philippines, also grew strongly, some 20 percent overall, to $78 billion.
While still positive, growth was much weaker in the other major developing regions of the world, particularly so in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) where a sharp slowdown in the crucial construction sector in the United States—a major employer of immigrant labor—resulted in a remittance increase of only 2 percent, compared to nearly 7 percent in 2007 and 18 percent in 2006.
The outlook for remittances this year, however, is negative across the board, according to the latest estimates. For LAC, the bank predicts a decline in remittances of between 7 percent and 9.5 percent, with countries closest to the US likely to be hardest hit. For Europe and Central Asia, the projected decline is even more dramatic; it could range between 15 percent and 17 percent, according to the report.
Remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa are also expected to fall relatively sharply—from a gain of 6.5 percent last year to a decline of between 8.3 percent to 11.6 percent in 2009.
While far less significant in dollar terms than the decline in private foreign investment, the reduction in remittances is likely to have a dramatic impact on the lives of many families among the world’s poorest sectors, according to Dilip Ratha, who coauthored the report.
‘Remittances provide a lifeline to many poor countries,’ he said. ‘Although they remain resilient, even a small decline of 7 percent or 10 percent can pose significant hardships to the people and to governments, especially those facing external financing gaps.’
For 2010, the bank expects remittances to all developing countries to grow by 2.9 percent over 2009, although its low-case forecast calls for a continuing decline of 0.3 percent.
LAC prospects are the least positive: the bank estimates the growth rate over 2009 at between minus 2 percent of 1 percent in positive territory. It estimates growth at between minus 0.5 percent to plus 3 percent in East Asia; 0.5 percent to 3 percent in Europe and Central Asia; minus 0.4 percent to 3.3 percent in the Middle East and North Africa; 0.5 percent to 3.9 percent in South Asia; and 1.1 percent to 4.4 percent in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Overall, the top recipients of migrant remittances among all developing countries last year, according to the report, were India ($52 billion); China ($40.6 billion); Mexico ($26.3 billion); the Philippines ($18.6 billion); Poland ($10.7 billion); Nigeria ($10 billion); Egypt ($9.6 billion); Romania ($9.4 billion); Bangladesh ($9.0 billion); and Vietnam ($7.2 billion).
The top recipients of migrant remittances as a percentage of GDP were Tajikistan (46 percent); Tonga (39 percent); Moldova (34 percent); Lesotho (28 percent); Guyana (26 percent); Lebanon (24 percent); Samoa (23 percent); Jordan (22 percent); Honduras (21 percent); and Kyrgyzstan (19 percent), according to the report.

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