Lebanon Businessnews News

Remittances to reach
$7.5 billion by year’s end
Growth despite falling oil prices
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Remittances by Lebanese working abroad to their home country are estimated to reach $7.5 billion by the close of 2015, up from $7.45 billion at the same time last year, according to the World Bank’s Migration and Development Brief. This represents a turnaround from a decline of 5.3 percent in remittances in 2014 compared with 2013.

This expected improvement is mainly due to more stability in the global market, especially in Europe, said Wissam Harake, Economist for Lebanon at the World Bank. There are no more shocks coming from Greece’s debt crisis, due to the Greek Government’s acceptance of the bailout program, he said.

The decline in remittances in 2014 was driven more by the global economic crisis than by the drop in oil prices, Harake said.

Remittances from Lebanese expatriates represented 16% of the country’s GDP in 2014, the highest percentage in the MENA region, according to the report.

“Despite falling oil prices in the second half of 2014, remittance outflows from the GCC continued to grow as the GCC countries used their fiscal buffers to maintain their spending,” the World Bank said in the report. “This trend is expected to continue, as fiscal adjustment is likely to be slow in Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Kuwait, where the majority of the migrants from the MENA region reside,” according to the report.

The expected growth of the remittances in 2015, however, remains lower than the estimated average growth in remittances to the MENA region, which are projected to rise 1.6 percent to $51.5 billion this year.
Reported by Shikrallah Nakhoul
Date Posted: Oct 26, 2015
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