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Expatriates' remittances to Lebanon revised downwards to $7.2bn in 2015

BEIRUT | - April 17, 2016, 08h48

The World Bank revised downward its estimate of expatriates' remittance inflows to Lebanon to $7.16bn in 2015 from an estimate of $7.5bn in October 2015 , reported Byblos Bank's Lebanon This Week.

Also, it reduced its figure for remittance inflows to Lebanon to $7.4bn in 2014 from $7.45bn earlier, while it revised upwards its estimate for such inflows to $8.08bn in 2013 from $7.86bn previously. In addition, it lowered its figures for remittance flows to the country to $6.67bn in 2012 from an earlier estimate of $6.73bn.

As a result, remittance inflows to Lebanon decreased by 3.3% in 2015, following a drop of 8.4% in 2014 and an increase of 21.2% in 2013.

Lebanon posted the second steepest contraction among the 15 largest recipients of remittances in developing economies in 2015, behind only Morocco (-7.3%). In comparison, remittance inflows to developing countries grew by a marginal 0.4%, and those to upper middle-income countries (UMICs) improved by 0.3%, while inflows to Arab countries regressed by 0.9% in 2015.

Further, Lebanon was the 16th largest recipient of remittances in the world and the 11th largest among developing economies in 2015. Also, it was the second largest recipient of remittances among 16 Arab countries and the third largest among 49 UMICs.

Globally, Lebanon received more remittances than Russia ($7.1bn), the United States ($7.09bn) and Sri Lanka ($7bn), and less than Indonesia ($9.63bn), Italy ($9.58bn) and Belgium ($8.84bn). It was a larger recipient of remittances than Sri Lanka, Nepal ($6.98bn) and Guatemala ($6.61bn), and a smaller recipient than Bangladesh ($15.36bn), Vietnam ($13.2bn) and Indonesia among developing economies. Also, remittance inflows to Lebanon were lower than inflows to Egypt ($19.71bn) among Arab countries, and less than flows to China ($63.94bn) and Mexico ($24.79bn) among UMICs.

Remittance inflows to Lebanon accounted for 1.2% of the global flow of remittances in 2015, compared to 1.3% in 2014 and 1.4% in 2013. They represented 1.7% of aggregate remittances to developing economies in 2015, unchanged from the preceding year and down from 1.9% in 2013; while they accounted for 14.2% of remittance inflows to Arab countries in 2015 relative to 14.6% in 2014 and 16.5% in 2013. Further, they represented 4.7% of remittance flows to UMICs in 2015, down from 4.9% in 2014 and 5.5% in 2013.

Further, expatriates' remittances to Lebanon were equivalent to 14% of GDP in 2015, the 19th highest such ratio in the world. The flow of expatriates' remittances to Lebanon relative to the size of its economy becomes the seventh highest globally among economies with a GDP of $10bn or more. Also, the inflows were the second largest among Arab economies, behind only the West Bank & Gaza (17% of GDP). Expatriates' remittances to Lebanon were equivalent to 14.8% of GDP in 2014 and 17% of GDP in 2013. The World Bank estimated remittance inflows to Arab countries at $50.3bn in 2015, equivalent to 2.4% of the region's GDP.

In parallel, the World Bank estimated that Saudi Arabia was the source of 20.2% of remittance inflows to Lebanon, in 2015, followed by the United States (16%), Australia (11.8%), Germany (10.9%), Canada (10.7%), France (5.7%), the UAE (3.2%), Sweden (3.1%), the United Kingdom (2.1%) and Denmark (1.6%). As such, the 10 countries were the source of 85.6% of remittance inflows to Lebanon last year.

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