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Remittance inflow dips, according to latest World Bank estimates

Remittance inflow dips, according to latest World Bank estimates
June 29
16:04 2018

By Adele Ramos
Freelance Reporter

Remittances to Belize were projected to reach a record US$100 million in 2017, according to an earlier estimate published online by the World Bank, but more recent reports indicate that remittance inflows to Belize may have fallen last year from a reported US$97 million to US$89 million.

Next door, Guatemala saw remittance inflows grow by 14%, from US$7.5 billion to US$8.5 billion. Of note is that the bulk of remittance outflows from Belize goes to Guatemala. In 2016, about US$60 of every US$100 went to that country. The total outflow from Belize to Guatemala in 2016 was over US$100 million, according to consolidated reports published by countryeconomy.com. Based on the estimated Guatemala-born population of 18,000, the per capita outflow per migrant from that country was around US$6,000 for the reference year – a clear indication that their financial commitment to their home country.

Remittance inflows are driven primarily by emigrants from Belize who live in other parts of the world, such as the USA, Canada and Mexico, or by Central American immigrants who live in Belize, particularly from neighboring countries: Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
The Belize economy gets much of its foreign currency from export earnings, tourism, foreign direct investment and remittances, which have been trending up over the decades.

According to data published by the World Bank, there has been an overall increase of the volume of remittance inflows over time, but that increase was most notable for the period 2005 to 2009. There had been a downturn until 2013, but remittance flows have been increasing every year since, according to the official data. The year 2017 has apparently broken that upward trajectory.

Meanwhile, countryeconomy.com highlights that remittance outflows have been rising faster than inflows – which means that the gap has been widening over time. Whereas the difference between inflows and outflows was US$43.6 million in 2010 (outflows being 55% higher than inflows), the spread had grown to $80.2 million in 2016 (with outflows estimated to have been 83% higher than inflows).

It’s a very telling trend and one that demonstrates that whereas remittance inflows from the US and other overseas jurisdictions were deemed to have been aiding the Belizean economy, when the outflows are brought into sharp focus, it reveals a drain on the economy in favor of countries from which migrants originate, chiefly Guatemala.

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