Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Strong remittance inflows for Jamaica

Published:Friday | June 16, 2017 | 6:00 AM

The January to March 2017 quarter had strong remittance inflows totalling US$557.6 million, which puts Jamaica on course for another record high for such money transfers, according to data released this week by the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ).

During the same period last year, remittance inflows totalled US$537.3 million and ended the calendar year at US$2.29 billion.

Net remittance inflows of US$185.9 million in March 2017 increased by five per cent, or US$8.9 million, relative to the corresponding period last year, the BOJ said.

The out-turn reflected an increase of US$11.6 million, or 5.9 per cent, in gross remittance inflows, offset by an increase of US$2.7 million, or 13.7 per cent, in outflows.

According to the BOJ's remittance bulletin, the increase in inflows for March was reflective of growth of 5.3 per cent and 10 per cent in flows through remittance companies and other remittances, respectively.

For fiscal year 2016-17, net remittance inflows of US$2.074 billion increased by 3.8 per cent, or US$75.8 million, relative to the previous year.

BOJ said the increase reflected growth of 3.4 per cent, or US$76.7 million, in remittance inflows, offset by a marginal increase of 0.4 per cent, or US$0.9 million, in outflows.

The increase in inflows during the fiscal year was largely influenced by growth of 2.7 per cent and eight per cent through remittance companies and other remittances subcategory, respectively.

The largest source of remittances to Jamaica in March 2017 remained from the United States of America, where its share increased to 67.6 per cent from 66.2 per cent recorded the previous month.

The remaining share of remittances for that period came from the United Kingdom at 11.5 per cent, followed by Canada and Cayman Islands at 8.5 per cent and 5.9 per cent, respectively.

A comparison of remittance inflows for selected countries for the March 2017 quarter shows Jamaica's growth rate of 3.8 per cent was below Guatemala, which registered growth of 16.7 per cent. El Salvador and Mexico registered growth rates of 12.5 per cent and seven per cent, respectively.

The number of locations licensed as remittance service providers as at December 31, 2016 was 41, compared to 28 in 2015.

The number of locations closed decreased to 21 from 27 in 2015, while the number of remittance locations increased to 422 from 4012 in 2015; 82 licences were issued compared to 131 in 2015, while 61 licences were either relinquished or revoked compared to 46 in 2015.

The number of licencees increased to 679 from 658 in 2015, and there were nine primary agents compared to eight in 2015.

mcpherse.thompson@gleanerjm.com