remittances

Leading political parties in India are pulling out all the stops to win over the 25m people of Indian origin living overseas – a crucial source of funding and practical support.

For decades Indian politicians have been making every effort to connect with citizens overseas. And even though many overseas Indians have given up their citizenship and can’t vote, wooing the diaspora is a smart thing to do. 

Christmas has come a few months early for families in the Philippines getting remittances from relatives living and working overseas.

Money sent home rose 7.4 per cent to $2.1bn in August from the same period a year ago, according to data released by the central bank on Wednesday. Last year, remittances reached that amount only in December, when transfers hit their annual peak because of holiday spending. 

By Zoe Flood of This is Africa

More than 250 money transfer companies, used largely by diaspora communities to send remittances to friends and family, face closure in Britain following a decision by Barclays to stop providing such companies with banking services.

The bank warned that some money service businesses may be without “the proper checks in place to spot criminal activity” and as a result could “unwittingly be facilitating money laundering and terrorist financing.” 

Spain’s economic crisis is writ large in the Inter-American Development Bank’s latest statistics on remittance flows to Latin America.

For years, thousands of Bolivians, Ecuadoreans and Colombians have been among those to seek work in Spain, legally or illegally. Whether young educated professionals, or poor maids, cleaners and construction labourers, these workers could see the advantages of saving Euros that would magically multiply back home into pesos or dollars or bolivianos. 

A surge of remittances during the global financial crisis has helped to support the economies of some of the world’s least developed countries.

But a report published on Monday has underlined the high price such LDCs – including many poor countries in Africa – are paying for these transfers from migrants working abroad – a crippling “brain drain”. 

Migrant workers are doing overtime to keep the world economy going. One of the few pleasant surprises of the post-2008 global economic turmoil has been the strength of remittance flows to the developing world.

In a report this week the World Bank says remittances are expected to exceed earlier estimates and reach $406bn this year, an increase of 6.5 per cent over 2o11, with further gains in the next three years. The main impediment is the high cost of the transfers – a full 12.4 per cent for sub-Saharan Africa. 

By Ron Buchanan and Pan Kwan Yuk

If the amount of money sent home by Mexicans working in the US is a barometer for the health of the American economy, then here’s some bad news for President Barack Obama.

Remittances sent home by oversea Mexicans fell 20 per cent to in September, according to the latest figures published by the Bank of Mexico. The drop – from $1.88bn last September to $1.66bn this September – is the biggest monthly drop since October 2009, the height of the global financial crisis. 

Remittances to developing countries recovered quickly from the fall of Lehman Brothers and are comfortably back above pre-crisis levels. The World Bank, among others, expects them to keep rising through the current crisis, as flows from other sources become less reliable.

Now, as industry experts explain to beyondbrics, the twin forces of regulation and technology are reshaping the remittances industry. 

The US economy shows signs of having wobbly legs after a second straight month of a decline in manufacturing. But other legs appear to be stomping a Mexican folk dance.

Mexican emigrants, overwhelmingly based in the United States, sent home $11.85bn in the first half of the year, a 6 per cent increase on the same period of 2011, the Mexican central bank reported Wednesday. 

Not so long ago, anyone in Brazil who wanted to make enough money to support their family was better off getting on the first flight out of there and going to work abroad.

But how things have changed. Now it seems it’s foreigners who are queuing up in Brazil to support their impoverished families back in the US and Europe. 

Forget the wide-brimmed white hats that Panama is synonymous with. The country’s latest export? Remittances.

While remittances from their emigrants have long been a part of the lifeblood of the economies of Mexico and Central America – Panama has emerged as an exception in the region. The country last year became a net exporter, rather than recipient, of remittances. It reported outward remittances of just over $1bn in 2011. This was money sent by foreigners who live and work in Panama to their home countries, mainly the United States and Colombia. 

Filipinos abroadBenigno Aquino III, the popular Philippine president, should begin to worry about his country’s disappointing GDP growth of 3.4 per cent in the quarter ending June, among the lowest in the region. And it’s not just because the economy has progressively slowed down in the past four quarters that he’s been in power.

Rather, the Philippines is losing one of its main growth drivers: remittances from Filipino contractual workers abroad that boost domestic spending. 

A group of Egyptian expatriates who met online are behind a new initiative to support the economy of their home country, damaged by the political turmoil following the revolution which toppled Hosni Mubarak, the former president.

The idea behind the T6T scheme is simple according to Ahmed al-Daly, a software developer in Canada and one of the people who devised it. 

Office employees walk past a logo of remittance bank Western Union at the financial district of Manila on July 20, 2009.For a remittance-dependent economy like the Philippines, news that year-on-year growth in money sent home by Filipinos working overseas dropped to only 4.1 per cent in March, the lowest in 19 months, should be worrisome.

But that’s not the whole of it. The number of Filipinos leaving for jobs abroad fell by 3.8 per cent to only 380,188 in the first quarter from 395,189 in the same period a year ago, mainly because of the political troubles in the Middle East and North Africa. Manila imposed temporary bans on deployments to Libya, Bahrain, Yemen and Syria since conflict erupted in those countries earlier this year. 

A stronger peso, buoyed by rising remittances from more than 9m Filipinos working overseas, continues to do wonders for the Philippine economy.

On Thursday, Moody’s changed the outlook on the Philippines’ foreign and local-currency bond ratings to positive from stable on the country’s stronger external payments position, after Manila sold. The move could lead to a possible upgrade of Manila’s credit rating currently set at Ba3, which is two notches below investment grade.