Covid pushes expats to remit more money home

By Eudore R. Chand

ABU DHABI 11 June 2020: Covid impact and higher dirham pushed outward personal remittances during Q1 2020 higher by 7.8 percent or Dh3 billion from Dh38.4 billion to Dh 41.4 billion compared to the same period of 2019, according to official figures released by the UAE Central Bank.

The top five destination countries for outward personal remittances during January-March 2020 were:

  1. India (37.8 percent)
  2. Pakistan (11.4 percent)
  3. Philippines (7.0 percent)
  4. Egypt (6.6 percent), and the
  5. USA (3.6 percent)

With the exception of Philippines, which in contrast saw a decrease by 3.6 percent, outward personal remittances to these countries increased by 20.8 percent (Pakistan), 18.7 percent (Egypt), 15.2 percent (USA), and 9.1 percent (India).

”The outward personal remittances that were settled through the banks increased by 16.9 percent or Dh1.4 billion. Meanwhile, the outward personal remittances that were settled through the exchange houses registered an increase of 5.4 percent or Dh1.6 billion, compared to the same period of 2019,” said the CBUAE Quarterly Economic Review.

The figures, including monthly data through March, provide evidence that, COVID-19 outbreak, did not affect the volume of personal funds transferred by expats and UAE nationals abroad thus far in the first quarter of 2020, the report carried by Wam noted.

UAE currency appreciates driven by higher US dollar

In Q1 2020, the UAE dirham appreciated in nominal terms on a Y-o-Y and Q-o-Q, due to the appreciation of the US dollar, according to the UAE Central Bank Quarterly Economic Review.

The report for the first quarter 2020 said against the currencies of the top-10 non-dollarized import partners, the UAE currency appreciated by 0.1 percent Q-o-Q and by 1.2 percent Y-o-Y.

”Against the currencies of the top-10 non-dollarized non-oil export partners, the appreciation was of 0.4 percent Q-o-Q and of 0.9 percent Y-o-Y, ” the report added.

”Accounting for all of the UAE’s trading partners, the Nominal Effective Exchange Rate, NEER, displayed the same pattern of appreciation relative to a basket of the weighted average of the currencies of major trading partners,” it continued.

“In particular,” the Quarterly Economic Review noted, “the average NEER appreciated by 0.5 percent and 2.4 percent Q-o-Q and Y-o-Y, respectively, in the first quarter of 2020, compared to an appreciation of 0.1 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively, in the previous quarter.”



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