Remittances slide by 2%
Remittance inflows inched up in the month of November, according to new data from money services regulator Bank of Jamaica. But year to date, spanning eleven months, the inflows are off by two per cent, falling to US$3.11 billion in the January-...
Remittance inflows inched up in the month of November, according to new data from money services regulator Bank of Jamaica.
But year to date, spanning eleven months, the inflows are off by two per cent, falling to US$3.11 billion in the January-November period, compared to $3.17 billion in the similar period in 2021.
For the month of November, remittances improved from US$274 million to US$276 million.
Remittances are sums of money sent from relatives or acquaintances as gifts. These funds traditionally provide household income or augment the wages of Jamaicans.
The decline in Jamaica came amid solid growth in peer countries. Remittances to Guatemala rose by 22.8 per cent; Mexico grew by 14.6 per cent; and El Salvador by 3.6 per cent for the period.
Jamaica’s remittances will close the 2022 calendar year solidly above the US$3-billion mark, but will likely underperform the historic US$3.5-billion high reached in 2021.
Pollster Don Anderson, who tracks household expectations on remittances, reported in mid-January that fewer rich and middle-income households were receiving remittances.
“Remittances are not unique to low-income households. It is more so among lower-income households but not unique,” said Anderson, the executive chairman of Market Research Services Limited, during the release of the business and consumer confidence on behalf of the Jamaica Conference Board.
“We suspect that in looking at the data in greater detail [to see] which socio-economic sector fell ... it is more among the middle- and upper-income [categories]. And that the body of lower-income persons receiving remittances has remained virtually unchanged.”
Anderson, who does the surveys for the analyses of the confidence indices, said his market research showed that since the onset of the pandemic, the number of Jamaican households receiving remittance rose to 34.7 per cent in 2020, then dipped to 29 per cent in 2021 and to 25.7 per cent in 2022.
“Fewer households are receiving remittances,” he asserted.
The majority of remittances flowing to Jamaica emanated from the United States, 70 per cent; the United Kingdom, 10.2 per cent; and Canada and Cayman Islands, 9.7 per cent, the Bank of Jamaica said in its November bulletin.
Jamaica first hit the US$3-billion mark for remittances in 2020, the advent year of the pandemic when lockdowns of businesses and economies were widespread across the globe.
The rapid rise in remittances in 2020 was explained by the travel restrictions that forced persons who would normally deliver funds in person during trips to Jamaica to use money transfer services instead, amid border closures.