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Almost $2B in net remittances to Jamaica in 2015

Published:Wednesday | March 30, 2016 | 3:00 AMSteven Jackson

Migrant workers sent home US$2.2 billion in gross remittances to Jamaica for the 2015 calendar year, or three per cent higher than a year earlier.

Remittances are a major source of foreign exchange for the cash-strapped island.

Of that amount, net remittances totalled US$1.99 billion, or US$63.5 million more than a year earlier, according to Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) data in its remittances report.

"A continued improvement in remittance inflows in ensuing quarters is juxtaposed to the prospects of improving macroeconomic conditions in the source economies," stated the report.

Remittances from the United States, at US$1.39 billion in 2015 increased US$11.0 million from the previous year to become the only main source market with higher year-on-year remittances to Jamaica. Remittances from the United Kingdom dipped to US$331 million, from US$347 million a year earlier. Canada declined to US$226.9 million, from US$250.6 million, and the Cayman Islands dipped to US$123.5 million, from US$124 million a year earlier.

The remittances, as a whole, are still above the pre-crisis levels in 2008 during the Western financial meltdown which began in the United States and spread to many, but not all nations.

"Inflows were above the average of US$1.84 billion for the previous five corresponding periods and above the corresponding pre-crisis outturn for 2008," said the report.

A unit within the research and economic programming division of the central bank prepares the report monthly.