Global remittances to low- and middle-income economies fell 1.6% in 2020, defying expectations of a sharper drop
By Eun-Young Jeong of The WSJ. Excerpts:
"Foreign-born workers sent more than $500 billion back to their home countries in the developing world last year, as the economic recovery and generous government programs in areas such as the U.S. helped sustain a critical lifeline for poor nations still battling the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to fresh data from the World Bank, global remittances to low- and middle-income economies fell just 1.6% last year to $540 billion, defying expectations that the pandemic would squeeze overseas workers’ ability to earn and send money to relatives in their home countries."
"Foreign direct investment in medium- or low-income countries fell 30% last year, excluding China, the world’s top destination for FDI.
During the pandemic, stimulus payments and enhanced unemployment and furlough programs in the U.S. and Europe allowed foreign-born workers there to continue to work and cushioned the fall in their incomes. Moreover, many migrants work in key industries such as delivery services and healthcare that continued to operate last year."
"Remittances make up over a fifth of the gross domestic product in countries such as Lebanon, Nepal and Jamaica."
"In the Philippines, where remittances make up over 7% of its GDP, payments from abroad are forecast to have reached $2.5 billion just for the month of March, a 4.8% rise from the previous year"
"In Mexico, remittances reached $4.15 billion in March, the highest amount ever sent from the U.S. to Mexico by migrant workers in a given month and up 2.6% from the same period last year"