KARACHI: Overseas Pakistani workers remitted $1.65 billion in April 2018, decreasing 6.89% from March 2018, according to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). However, the amount was up 7.25% from the same month of previous year.
Total remittances for the first 10 months (July-April) of the current fiscal year 2017-18 amounted to $16.2 billion, 3.92% higher than $15.6 billion in the corresponding period of last year, the central bank reported. The bank recently anticipated in its quarterly report on the state of economy that Pakistan would attract a maximum of $20.5 billion in remittances in FY18.
If its projection is met, then total remittances will be slightly higher than last year’s number of $19.3 billion, but will fall short of the target of $20.7 billion.
The slight pickup in remittances, however, was insufficient to offset the impact from excessive imports and an unsatisfactory increase in exports. As a result, Pakistan’s current account deficit continued to expand and the gap widened 50.6% year-on-year to $12.03 billion in first nine months of FY18, eating up foreign exchange reserves at a fast pace.
Saudi Arabia remained the single largest source of remittances to Pakistan, but inflows slowed down. Pakistanis living in the Gulf Arab kingdom sent $399.56 million in April 2018, which was 9.01% lower than $439.13 million in the same month of last year.
Pakistanis living in the United Arab Emirates sent home remittances worth $358.28 million, which was 4.15% higher than $344.01 million in April 2017. On a year-on-year basis, remittances from the US and the UK picked up from $199.69 million and $191.6 million to $240.39 million and $232.58 million respectively in April 2018.
Remittances from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman, amounted to $167.68 million, which was 4.2% lower than the $175.18 million remitted in April 2017. Pakistani workers in European Union member countries remitted a total of $54.74 million, which remained higher on a year-on-year basis, but dropped 7.05% month-on-month.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 11th, 2018.