KARACHI: Pakistan received remittances amounting to $1.576 billion in November 2017, which is 2.57% lower compared with $1.618 billion the country received in the same month of the previous year, according to data released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Monday.
Overall, overseas Pakistani workers remitted $8.021 billion in the first five months (July to November) of fiscal year 2018, up 1.28% compared with $7.919 billion received during the same period of the preceding year.
Remittance: Even our saving grace is now letting us down
Remittances play a major role in stabilising Pakistan’s external sector, as they make up almost half the import bill and cover the deficit in the trade of goods account. Nevertheless, in recent times, they have come under pressure due to a global economic slowdown on the back of low crude oil prices. In November 2017, Pakistan received $213 million in remittances from the UK, which is 10% higher than $193 million that the country received in the same month of the previous year.
Similarly, the increase was also noted in remittances coming from the US as the country received $204 million from the US in November 2017, up 5% compared with $194 million in the same month last year.
Overseas Pakistanis living in the European Union (EU) sent back $49 million in November 2017, up 32% compared with $37 million in the same month of last year.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE left behind
Remittances from Saudi Arabia and the UAE - the two most important sources of remittances for Pakistan in the Gulf - are continuously declining.
Documentary to raise awareness of illegal remittance channels
Remittances from Gulf countries, which have historically accounted for the largest share annually, dropped drastically due to a sharp fall in crude oil prices that hurt the region’s economies. Pakistan received remittances of $409.5 million from Saudi Arabia in November 2017, down 12% compared with $465 million in the same month of 2016.
Similarly, the country received $353 million from the UAE, down 2.75% compared with $363 million from the same month of the last year.
Remittances coming from the GCC (other than the UAE and Saudi Arabia) countries remained almost flat. Pakistan received $192 million from the GCC countries in November 2017 compared with $193 million in the same month last year.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 12th, 2017.
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