Foreign Remittances: What Does The Flux Indicate For Pakistan Economy?

According to the latest reports released by the State Bank of Pakistan on Tuesday, overseas Pakistani workers sent home a sum of $1.294 billion in September 2017. As compared to the same month of last year, the amount was $1.62 billion. The foreign remittances in September 2017 as compared to August 2017 have decreased by 34%.

In the previous year, foreign remittances from overseas Pakistani workers were recorded to be $4.74 billion. The amount increased by a meager 1% this year as the total remittances increased to $4.79 billion.

Also Read: After trade deficit, remittances decline for the first time in 13 years

Problematic factors

Due to the sudden decrease in crude oil prices, remittances from Gulf countries also decreased drastically. Foreign remittances from Gulf countries amount to the largest shares in remittances. However, shares from these countries have been decreasing since.

As a result, thousand of Pakistanis lost their jobs overseas. Most of them belonged to Saudi Arabia as the country has the largest share of 25% in remittances.

Remittances from Saudi Arabia have dropped from $438 million to $308 million since the previous year. A decrease of 16.2% in remittances from UAE was recorded. Remittances decreased from $362 million to $303 million in just one year. Moreover, a 7% decrease in remittances was recorded from the UK where it stood at $195 million as compared to $120 million during last year.

Gulf Cooperation Council Countries

Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, and Qatar are among the few Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries from where Pakistanis send home a considerable amount of money. However, this amount has also decreased from $182 million in September 2016 to $141 million in September 2017.

Meanwhile, in the same month of 2016, remittances from the European Union stood at $44 million while it increased to $45 million in September 2017. Remittances from other countries such as Australia, Canada, Norway, Switzerland, and Japan altogether amounted to $130 million which is once more, 21% down against $165 million in the previous year.

Quick Read: Pakistan faces a 7% cut down in remittances during April

Although overall remittances have been decreasing, the remittances received through EU countries have been increasing which is a good sign for Pakistan’s economy. A 15% increase in remittances was recorded as Pakistan received $483 million from EU states while the amount was $418 million in the previous year.

Based on an overall analysis, foreign remittances from all countries amounted to $19.3 billion in fiscal year 2016-17. A 3% decrease in overall remittances was recorded as the amount was $19.91 billion in the previous fiscal year.

Pakistan’s economy is already facing hard times and with a decrease in remittances, these hard times are becoming even tougher. With the decrease in price of crude oil, the country is finding it hard to balance the trade deficit. In such a crucial time, Pakistan needs an increase in remittances more than ever.


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