2015 remittances seen rising to US$12.25 billion

HANOI, HCMC - The World Bank has projected that incoming remittances to Vietnam this year could rise to US$12.25 billion.

With the figure provided in the bank’s Migration and Remittances Factbook 2016, Vietnam will come in 11th among the countries that receive the most remittances this year. As for the Asia-Pacific region, Vietnam is the third biggest remittance recipient after China and the Philippines.

Remittances from the U.S. total around US$7 billion this year.

The report showed remittances to Vietnam have steadily grown in recent years, with US$10 billion in 2012, US$11 billion in 2013 and US$12 billion in 2014.

Asked about total remittances this year, a former leader of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) said the agency does not have official data every year due to a lack of separate statistics for it as the agency manages incoming and outgoing remittances by individuals and enterprises.

He said it is difficult to calculate an exact number of remittances to Vietnam as a significant share of it is brought into the country by individuals and sent via informal channels.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Hoang Minh, deputy director of the SBV’s HCMC branch, predicted that the incoming remittances in HCMC would increase 10% this year compared to last year.

Minh said the figure could go up from US$4.1 billion in 2002 to US$5.5 billion in HCMC this year, a record high.

He said 22% of this year’s remittances in HCMC would go to the real estate sector, around one percentage point higher than last year, 72% to production and trading, and the rest to financial support for families. The local property market has attracted more investment from the source of funding owing to its steady recovery.

A number of banks including Agribank, VietinBank, SCB, Techcombank, BIDV and Sacombank have recently launched promotion programs to woo customers for their money transfer service as demand often surges ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, or Tet.

A leader of Sacombank said remittances are one of the bank’s important services as around US$1.5 billion is remitted via the lender a year.

According to the WB report, migrants worldwide are to send an estimated US$601 billion back to their home countries, with developing countries accounting for over US$441 billion.

The number of migrants is forecast to exceed 250 million this year, the highest level to be recorded. Top destinations of migrants are the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Germany, Russia, the United Arab Emirates, the UK, France, Canada, Spain and Australia while countries with the highest number of migrants include India, Mexico, Russia, China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Philippines, Afghanistan and Ukraine.

According to the Central Institute for Economic Management, officially recorded remittances to Vietnam reached US$80.4 billion in the 1991-2013 period. If the remittances in 2014 and 2015 are included, the figure in the past 25 years would have amounted to US$105 billion.

Source: The Saigon Times