Personal remittances to foreigners residing in Saudi Arabia (expatriates), increased by 5.93%, equivalent to 701 million riyals (187 million dollars), in May 2021, to record about 12.53 billion riyals ($ 3.34 billion), compared to 11.83 billion riyals (3.15 billion). dollars) in May 2020, according to the monthly bulletin issued by the Central Bank of Saudi Arabia (SAMA).
On a monthly basis, remittances from expatriates fell last May by 6%, equivalent to 748 million riyals ($199 million), compared to transfers of about 13.28 billion riyals ($3.54 billion) in April 2021.
According to Al Arabiya.net’s calculations, expatriate remittances amounted to 14% in 5 months of this year, to record about 63.22 billion riyals (16.86 billion dollars), compared to 55.48 billion riyals (14.79 billion dollars) in 5 months of the year 2020.
It is noteworthy that the remittances of foreigners residing in Saudi Arabia increased by 19.25% during the year 2020, to reach 149.69 billion riyals ($39.92 billion), compared to 125.53 billion riyals ($33.47 billion) in 2019. The value of remittances during the past year was the highest. Since 2016, the equivalent of about 4 years.
Data from the Saudi Central Bank showed that remittances to Saudis increased by 72.48% in May 2021, to record about 5.13 billion riyals ($1.37 billion), compared to about 2.98 billion riyals (794 million riyals) in May 2020.
Remittances by Saudis amounted to about 24.94 billion riyals ($6.65 billion) in 5 months of this year, compared to about 19.25 billion riyals ($5.13 billion) in the corresponding period of 2020, an increase of 29.6%.
Transfers exceed expectations
The World Bank stated, in a previous briefing, that despite the emerging Corona Virus (Covid-19) pandemic, remittances remained resilient in 2020, as they recorded a decline less than what was indicated by previous expectations.
The most recent World Bank Migration and Development Brief showed that officially recorded remittance flows to low- and middle-income countries amounted to $540 billion in 2020, down only 1.6 percent from the total of $548 billion in 2019.
The decline in remittance flows recorded in 2020 was lower than the level recorded during the 2009 global financial crisis (4.8%), and was also much less than the decline in FDI flows to low- and middle-income countries that – when excluding flows to China – fell more than 30 percent. As a result, remittance flows to low- and middle-income countries outnumbered foreign direct investment ($259 billion) and foreign development assistance ($179 billion) in 2020.
Among the main factors of the steady influx of remittances are fiscal stimulus measures that have led to better-than-expected economic conditions in most host countries, a shift in flows from cash to digital, and from informal to formal channels, and cyclical movements in oil prices and currency exchange rates. .
It is believed that the true size of remittances that include formal and informal flows is greater than what the officially recorded data indicates, although there is still uncertainty surrounding the extent of the impact of the Corona pandemic on informal flows.