India Received Highest Expat Remittances Globally, Says World Bank

The top remittance recipients were India with $69 billion, followed by China with $64 billion, the World Bank report said.


India retained the top spot for the third time as the highest recipient of expat remittances globally in 2017 with the overseas Indians sending back $69 billion, World Bank statement said on Apr. 23.

“Remittance inflows improved in all regions and the top remittance recipients were India with $69 billion, followed by China with $64 billion, the Philippines ($33 billion), Mexico ($31 billion), Nigeria ($22 billion), and Egypt ($20 billion),” the statement said.

According to the World Bank’s report–Migration and Development Brief– the remittances to India in 2017, which was at 9.9 per cent, reversed the previous year’s sharp decline. Global remittances are expected grow 4.6 per cent to $642 billion in 2018.

The report added that remittances to low-and middle-income countries rebounded to a record level in 2017 after two consecutive years of decline. However, the cost of transferring funds has also increased, the bank observed. It called for simplifying the process to send money to reduce the costs by “introducing more efficient technology.”

“The overall recovery in remittances is better than we expected. It is driven by stronger growth in the European Union, the Russian Federation, and the United States. The rebound in remittances, when valued in U.S. dollars, was helped by higher oil prices and a strengthening of the Euro and Ruble,” Dilip Ratha, lead author of the report stated.

“The global average cost of sending $200 was 7.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2018. The cost ranges from the most expensive average cost of 9.4 percent in Sub-Saharan Africa, to the lowest average cost of 5.2 percent in South Asia. The average cost is higher than the Sustainable Development Goal target of 3 percent in all regions,” Ratha added.

He explained that while remittances are growing, countries, institutions, and development agencies must continue to gradually reduce the high costs of remitting so that families receive more of the money. “Eliminating exclusivity contracts to improve market competition and introducing more efficient technology are high-priority issues” said Ratha.

As per the estimates by the bank, remittances to low-and middle-income countries, that have been recorded, reached $466 billion in 2017, which is an increase of 8.5 per cent over $429 billion in 2016.

With the inclusion of high income countries, global remittances rose from 7 per cent to $613 billion in 2017 from $573 billion in 2016. Regionally, remittances to South Asia rose about 5.8 per cent to $117 billion in 2017, while in East Asia and Pacific region, it rose to 5.8 per cent to $130 billion in 2017. These regions saw a slowdown in 2016, which was rebounded in the last year.

India was the top remittance receiving nation from migrant workers living in the United Arab Emirates in the fourth quarter of 2017, revealed statistics from the gulf nation’s monetary authority recently.

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