Expatriates’ remittances to Lebanon increased by 13.2 percent in 2014 compared to 2013, according to a recent report released by the World Bank.
“Remittances of Lebanese expatriates increased from $7.86 billion in 2013 to $8.9 billion in 2014,” the report said.
But the report noted that the previous years saw a 16.8 percent increase in remittances from $6.73 billion in 2012 to $7.86 billion in 2013, as reported by Lebanon This Week, the economic publication of the Byblos Bank Group.
The World Bank attributed the increase in remittances in part to those sent to Syrian refugees in Lebanon by their relatives abroad.
“The increase in remittances is also caused by an improved economic activity in the main countries hosting Lebanese expatriates such as the United States,” it said.
It added that Lebanon registered the second-highest growth among the 15 largest recipients of remittances in developing economies last year, behind only Pakistan, which saw 16.6 percent increase.
In comparison, remittances to developing countries in 2014 rose by 4.4 percent while those to Arab countries increased by 7.5 percent and remittances to Upper Middle Income Countries grew by 5.7 percent.
The report said Lebanon was the 14th-largest recipient of remittances in the world and the 10th largest recipient among 125 developing economies in 2014. Also, it was the second-largest recipient of remittances among 16 Arab countries and the third largest among 50 UMICs.
Globally, Lebanon received more remittances than Indonesia ($8.55 billion), Italy ($7.71 billion) and Ukraine ($7.59 billion), and less than Vietnam ($12 billion), Belgium ($11.3 billion) and Spain ($11 billion).
Among developing economies it was a larger recipient of remittances than Indonesia, Ukraine and Sri Lanka ($7.04 billion), and a smaller recipient than Pakistan ($17.06 billion), Bangladesh ($15 billion) and Vietnam.
Also, remittance inflows to Lebanon were lower than those to Egypt ($19.61 billion) among Arab countries and less than inflows to China ($64.14 billion) and Mexico ($24.87 billion) among UMICs.
Remittances to Lebanon accounted for 1.5 percent of the global inflow of remittances in 2014, compared to 1.4 percent in 2013 and 1.3 percent in 2012.
They represented 2 percent of aggregate remittances to developing economies last year, up from 1.9 percent in 2013, and accounted for 17 percent of remittance inflows to Arab countries in 2014 compared to 16.1 percent in 2013.
Furthermore, remittances to Lebanon represented 5.6 percent of inflows to UMICs in 2014, up from 5.2 percent in 2013.
In addition, expatriates’ remittances to Lebanon were equivalent to 17.8 percent of GDP in 2014, the 11th highest such ratio in the world. Expatriates’ remittances to Lebanon were equivalent to 16.5 percent of GDP in 2013 and 15.3 percent of GDP in 2012. The World Bank estimated remittances to Arab countries at $52.5 billion, equivalent to about 2 percent of the region’s GDP last year.
The Daily Star