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Saudi Arabia

Remittances up 17% to SR133bn

Expatriate remittances from the Kingdom rose by 17 percent to SR133.3 billion in the first 11 months of 2013 compared to SR113.9 billion for the same period last year.
Likewise, Saudi remittances to foreign countries rose by 10 percent to SR69.6 billion in November 2013 compared to SR63.3 billion in November 2012, Al-Eqtisadiah reported.
Personal remittances by Saudis and foreigners were up by 14 percent to reach SR202.9 billion in the last 11 months. Personal money transfers of non-Saudis comprised 75 percent of the overall personal remittances.
According to the report, personal remittances, which fall within local banks’ sales of hard currencies, are meant to cover some 15 items such as imports, personal transfers, travel expenses abroad, investments in foreign countries and sales to government agencies.
An economic expert earlier predicted that remittances of foreign workers in the Kingdom to their home countries would climb to nearly SR109 billion during the current year.
Fahd Bin-Jumaa said remittances of expatriates exceeded SR700 billion during the last 10 years.
Other bankers and economists, however, said outbound remittances of expatriates are poised to fall by more than 20 percent in the wake of the crackdown on illegal workers being jointly carried out by the Ministries of Labor and Interior.
Jarmo T. Kotilaine, a regional analyst, told Arab News: “Money that is not spent in Saudi Arabia means less economic activity. And money that is not saved locally probably overall limits the resources available for local investment.”
John Sfakianakis, chief investment strategist at Masic in Saudi Arabia, said: “High remittances for 2013 is not a surprise given that many workers that have left the country or others who have been concerned about tight labor measures would probably have sent more abroad and saved less within the wider economy over the last few months of 2013.”

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