KARACHI: Pakistan received remittances amounting to $1
639 billion in February 2018, up 2.32% compared with $1.417 billion in the same month of the previous year, according to data released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).
Overall, overseas Pakistani workers remitted $12.834 billion in the first eight months (July to February) of fiscal year 2018, up 3.4% compared with $12.411 billion received during the same period of the preceding year.
Remittances play a major role in stabilising Pakistan’s external sector as it largely covers 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 February 2018, Pakistan received $201 million in remittances from the UK, which is 17.5% higher than $171 million that the country received in the same month of the previous year.
Remittances increase 8.72%, amount to $1.724b in Dec
In the first eight months (Jul-Feb) of fiscal year 2017-18, remittances coming from the UK jumped by 23% to $1.786 billion from $1.449 billion in the same period of last year.
The value of the UK pound has gained over 6% against the rupee in the last few months. This is one of the highest jumps shown by any major foreign currency against the rupee in the open market.
Analysts believe, apart from other factors, the increase in the value of any particular foreign currency encourages overseas Pakistanis to send back more money.
Similarly, an increase was also noted in remittances coming from the US as the country received $207 million in February 2018, up 16% compared with $178 million in the same month last year.
Overall, remittances from the US in the first eight months of current fiscal year increased by 12% to $1.712 billion from $1.525 billion.
Pakistan received $332 million in February 2018 from the UAE, up 3.75% compared with $320 million from the same month of the last year.
Remittances from the GCC countries (other than UAE and Saudi Arabia) declined by 11% to $149 million in February 2018, compared with $168 million in the same month in 2017.
Whereas, remittances received from Norway, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Japan and other countries (combined) during February 2018 increased to $163 million, up 13% compared with $144 million received in February 2017.
Pew Research Center report: The flow of remittances in and out of Pakistan
Overseas Pakistanis living in the European Union (EU) sent back $49 million in February 2018, up 53% compared with $32 million in the same month of last year.
Saudi Arabia left behind
Remittances from Saudi Arabia – the most important source of remittances for Pakistan – have shown declining trends in recent months.
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 $348 million from Saudi Arabia in February 2018, down 14% compared with $404 million in the same month of 2017.