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Remittances rose to $16bn in July-April

May 11, 2016 at 3:21 pm

KARACHI: Remittances sent by overseas Pakistanis rose five per cent to $16 billion during the first 10 months (July-April) of this fiscal year, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) said on Tuesday.

The amount was significant as it was even higher than the $15.9bn foreign exchange reserves held by the SBP as of end-April.

The government depends on the central bank’s reserves to make payments like debt servicing and other obligations. The State Bank has been buying dollars from the inter-bank market to boost its coffers while the government keeps borrowing from the international donors and international markets.

Remittances from Saudi Arabia were the highest as their share was more than 30pc of the total inflows received during the 10 months under reviews. The year-on-year growth in flows coming from the Kingdom was 5.9pc. Inflows from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were the second highest at $3.5bn. However, the growth stalled to 4pc from 35pc in the same period last year.

Remittances from the United States fell 6pc to $2.087bn compared to a growth of 9pc a year earlier. Inflows from the United Kingdom showed persistency with a growth of 4.5pc to $2.022bn compared to a growth of 7.5pc last year.

The highest growth, at 11pc, came from the Gulf Cooperation Council countries — excluding Saudi Arabia and the UAE — as collective remittances from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar rose to $1.97bn.

This year’s growth pattern of remittances showed that they started falling after November when the growth was the highest at 16.5pc. December growth was negative 1.2pc; it improved in the next four months, with just 1pc growth in April.

Given the per-month average inflow at $1.6bn, the country is set to receive about $19.5bn remittances during this fiscal year.

The government is struggling to improve its reserves as the debt servicing could see a jump in FY17 when the country starts repaying rescheduled debts.

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