Remittance inflows dip in July
Net remittance inflows for July fell by US$3.4 million, or some 1.2 per cent, when compared to the same period last year to total US$283.9 million, the latest data from the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) has shown.
The decrease, the central bank said in its monthly remittance bulletin, “was primarily due to a US$2.7-million or 0.9 per cent decline in total remittance inflows as well as an increase in remittance outflows of US$0.8 million or 4.2 per cent”.
The fall in total remittance inflows stemmed from lower inflows from both remittance companies and other remittance channels, with inflows via other remittances channels experiencing the sharpest reduction.
According to the BOJ data, fiscal year out-turns also reflected similar downturns, moving from US$1.1 billion last year to $1.0 billion in July 2023 â€” 2.1 per cent or US$23.6 million less. This, the BOJ said, came as a result of the reductions in remittance inflows from remittance companies as well as a substantial increase of more than 13 per cent in remittance outflows.
“For the January to July 2023 period, remittance inflows to Jamaica amounted to US$1.9 billion. This out-turn represented a decline of 0.4 per cent relative to January to July 2022,” the bulletin further outlined.
Jamaica’s decline of 0.4 per cent is compared to the growth of 8.7 per cent, 9.3 per cent, and 5.9 per cent recorded by Guatemala, Mexico, and El Salvador, respectively,” it also said in a comparison by country.
The United States, which continues to be Jamaica’s large source market, accounted for 68.7 per cent of the flows, though slipping 1.6 percentage points when compared to that in July 2022 when it stood at 70.2 per cent.
“Other source countries which contributed a notable share of remittances for the month were Canada at 11.4 per cent, followed by the UK and the Cayman Islands at 10.4 per cent and 5.7 per cent, respectively,” the data showed.
In an analysis of the data, JN Fund Managers suggested that given the continuing uncertain economic landscape and tight liquidity conditions in the US and other source markets, it is likely that remittance growth may remain subdued for the near term.
“Remittances are, therefore, not expected to rebound to previous highs for the remainder of 2023,” the fund management entity also said.
The World Bank, in its June report, also said that even as remittance markets across the globe, including those in the Latin America and the Caribbean region, continue to be resilient, its performance this year is very likely to slow as economic activities in key source markets soften, limiting employment and wage gains and curtailing migrants’ ability to send funds to loved ones back home.
“In 2023, remittances are projected to grow by 3.3 per cent, but with prospects tightly linked to developments in the US economy, which is slowing, the risks are skewed to the downside,” the World Bank report stated.