Vietnam among world’s top 10 remittance recipients in 2017

By Minh Nga   April 25, 2018 | 12:36 am PT
Vietnam among world’s top 10 remittance recipients in 2017
An employee of a bank counts US dollar notes at a branch in Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo by Reuters/Kham
The country stands among top destinations of remittance outflows from the U.S.

Vietnamese workers living abroad sent home $13.8 billion last year, keeping the country among the 10 biggest remittance beneficiaries, the World Bank said in a new report.

That’s equivalent to 6.7 percent Vietnam’s gross domestic product in 2017, showing that remittances continue to be an important income source for the country.

India took the top spot in 2017, getting $69 billion, followed by China with $63.9 billion and the Philippines with $32.8 billion

Together, the top 10 account for more than half of the total $466 billion sent to low- and middle-income countries in 2017, an increase of 8.5 percent over 2016, the WB said in a report released Monday.

If flows to high-income countries are also taken into account, global remittances grew 7 percent to $613 billion in 2017.

According to the United Nations, in 2017, the global stock of international migrants, including refugees, was an estimated $258 million while new data from several countries as well as data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the WB, put this estimate at $266 million.

The largest outflows of remittances last year were from the U.S., at $67 billion, and Saudi Arabia, at $38 billion.

The top destinations for remittances from the U.S., which has led the world in remittance outflows for 35 years, are Mexico, China, India, the Philippines and Vietnam, even though experts warned last year that Vietnam could be losing out given U.S. President Donald Trump's anti-immigration policy and the Federal Reserve's interest rate hikes at the time.

Remittances to developing countries are expected to continue to increase this year by 4.1 percent to reach $485 billion while global remittances are predicted to grow 4.6 percent to $642 billion, according to the WB.

For Vietnam, over the past 25 years, the flow of overseas funds has increased around 100-fold, from $140 million in 1993 to approximately $13.4 billion in 2016, according to data released in May last year by the bank.

Data from the Pew Research Center said Vietnam got $11.8 billion in 2016, with the U.S. being the biggest source, accounting for more than half of the total sum, followed by Australia, Canada, Germany and France.

Official government data showed the number of Vietnamese workers that went to work abroad hit nearly 135,000 in 2017, up 6.7 percent against 2016, marking the fourth year in a row that the figure exceeded 100,000.

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