UAE remittances hit $29.5 billion in one year

Total outward remittances from Middle East reaches $120 billion (Dh440 billion), according to money transfer operator.

The Middle East has cemented its position as one of the leading remittance hubs in the world, with the volume of transferred funds rising significantly in 2015 alone, according to a money exchange operator.

Xpress Money estimated that a total of $120 billion (Dh440 billion) in funds were remitted from the region to different destinations around the world in 2015, an increase of 9 per cent from $110 billion in 2014.

The amount represents the cash flows coursed through all money transfer operators in the region. Sudhesh Giriyan, COO of Xpress Money, told Gulf News that about a quarter (25 per cent) or $29.5 billion of the outward remittances originated from the UAE.

It is believed that a huge chunk of the remittances went to the beneficiaries of expatriates, particularly those who are based in South or Southeast Asia and in other places outside the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region.

Middle East money flows aren’t just benefitting Asian recipients. In fact, remittances within the region are growing “rapidly” as well, particularly with Arab nationals or expatriates moving funds from GCC states to other Arab countries. Xpress Money said Egypt also appears in the top ten list of remittance-receiving countries.

The majority of all Arab expatriates (71 per cent) surveyed by Xpress Money said they do send money home, with nearly four in ten (38 per cent) saying they remit funds at least once a month and another 32 per cent forwarding money at least every two to three months.

“Research indicates that not only are Arabs sending money more frequently, but the amounts tend to also be larger,” the company said in a statement.

Arab expatriates working in “select” Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries regularly transfer amounts in the $700 to $1,000 range.

Money transfers to other Arab countries are forecast to grow further in the coming years, especially in the run-up to major events like Expo 2020 in Dubai.

“The Middle East’s status as one of the world’s most vibrant hubs for expatriate Arabs remitting money is set to increase given the rise of global events coming to the region, including the Expo 2020 in Dubai and the Qatar 2022 Fifa World Cup,” said Giriyan.

“These global events create positive halo effects that create more employment opportunities and attract more jobseekers – in turn multiplying remittance streams from GCC countries to the Levant and North African geographies within MENA,” he added.