Asia to see 41.4% drop in money transfer from Middle East in 2020

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Middle East Worker
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A new report from Asian Development Bank (ADB) expects the Middle East region to Asia remittance to drop by $22.5 billion during 2020 which would 41.4% decrease in the total remittance loss in Asia. 

The ADB’s blog highlights the US to witness the second-biggest fall with a decrease of $20.5 billion representing 37.9% of the total remittance loss.

The fall in remittances from the EU and the UK to Asia accounts for 6.3% of the total ($3.4 billion). Whereas, a decline from the Russian Federation amounts to $2.1 billion, of which $2 billion reflects the decline in remittances going to Central Asia.

By percentage, the Middle East and the Russian Federation experienced the sharpest decline—over a third—primarily reflecting the effects of low demand and oil prices on remittances.

Global scenario

Based on a worst-case scenario, the global remittance is expected to fall by 18.3% to $108.6 billion in 2020 if the COVID-19 economic impact is anticipated to persists throughout the year and dissipate halfway in the last three months of the outbreak.

Remittance receipts in Asia and the Pacific would fall by $54.3 billion, equivalent to 19.8% of remittances in 2018.

Regional contributions 

  • Remittances in South Asia are expected to fall furthest, by $28.6 billion (24.7% of 2018 receipts).
  • Remittances to Central Asia is expected to drop by $3.4 billion (23.8%).
  • Southeast Asia’s remittances will fall by $11.7 billion (18.6%).
  • The East Asia ex-People’s Republic of China and Japan will see a drop in remittances by 16.2% to 1.7 billion.
  • Remittances to the Pacific will also fall by $267 million (13.2%).

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to weigh heavily on economic systems and employment around the world. Migrant workers are among the hardest-hit groups, with many facing scant job security and limited access to social assistance.  Large-scale unemployment and wage reduction among migrant workers also threaten the wellbeing of many households in Asia and the Pacific who depend on remittances to meet their daily needs.

Governments in the region could help manage the impact of Covid-19 on remittances by extending temporary social services to assist stranded and returning migrants; providing income support to poor remittance-recipient families; and designing health, labor, and skills policies to help migrants return to their jobs, or be employed in their home countries.