Remittances to fall for first time in 11 years

By Dat Nguyen   November 8, 2020 | 04:56 pm PT
Remittances to fall for first time in 11 years
An employee counts U.S. banknotes at a bank in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
Remittances to Vietnam are set to fall for the first time since 2009 to $15.7 billion this year over Covid-19 impacts.

However, even though this is a 7.6 percent drop from last year’s $17 billion, Vietnam will remain the ninth biggest remittance beneficiary in the world, according to a recent report by the World Bank.

In the East Asia and Pacific region, the country is forecast to rank third behind China ($59.5 billion) and the Philippines ($33.3 billion).

This year’s remittance is estimated at 5.8 percent of Vietnam’s GDP, compared to 6.5 percent last year.

The dip reverses an upward trend that’s lasted two decades, starting at a mere $1.3 billion in 2000.

Pandemic imposed travel restrictions and fear of contracting the virus abroad have caused the number of Vietnamese leaving abroad for work in the first nine months to plunge 59 percent year-on-year to just over 42,800, according to the Department of Overseas Labor.

Last year, nearly 147,400 Vietnamese workers left to work abroad, up 3.2 percent from 2018, marking the sixth year in a row that the figure has exceeded 100,000, the department said.

Globally, remittance flows to low and middle-income countries are projected to fall by 7 percent to $508 billion this year due to weak economic growth and employment levels in migrant-hosting countries, weak oil prices, and depreciation of the currencies of remittance-source countries against the U.S. dollar, the World Bank report said.

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