Expat remittances from Saudi Arabia fall by 3pct in 2016


BE2C2 Report — Around $40.53 billion (SR152 billion) were transferred by expats in 2016 as compared to $41.87 (SR157 billion) the previous year, representing a decline of 3 percent.

This is the first annual decline after a consecutive 11-year streak of growth between 2005 and 2015, an Al-Eqtisadiya report has revealed, according to Thompson Reuters.

Remittances in 2014 by expats amounted to $41 billion (SR154 billion).

The report said monthly foreign remittances have declined by 6.7 percent, from SR13.52 billion in December 2016 to SR12.61 billion in January.

According to some observers, the delay in receipt of salaries and wages by a large number of expats from their employers could be one of the main reasons for the dip last year – and may not have direct correlation with drop in oil prices and budget cuts, or the budget deficit.

Saudi Arabia remains the second highest remittance-sending country in the world among the top 10 – remittances from the Kingdom contribute significantly towards the GDP of  several Southeast and South Asian countries.

The report reveals that transfers sent by Saudi citizens abroad increased by 13.4 percent in January as compared to December 2016. Transfers in January were highest since October 2016. This represents a consecutive three-month increase in transfers abroad.

Transfers by citizens in January were SR4.95 billion as compared to SR4.37 in December 2016. This represents a consecutive three-month increase in transfers abroad.

On an annual basis, however, transfers declined in January by around 8.5 percent from January 2016, when transfers amounted to SR5.41 billion.

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