Global Remittances May Fall by $109 Billion, ADB Economists Say

Global remittances could fall by as much as $108.6 billion in 2020 if it takes a year to contain the coronavirus pandemic and reopen economies, according to Asian Development Bank economists.

“Migrant workers are among the hardest hit groups, with many facing scant job security and limited access to social assistances,” ADB economists James Villafuerte and Aiko Kikkawa Takenaka wrote in a blog posted on the Manila-based lender’s website.

Large-scale unemployment and wage reduction among migrant workers threaten households in Asia-Pacific, where remittance receipts may be cut by $54.3 billion this year, according to the authors. South Asia could be hardest hit, with remittances falling by a quarter from their 2018 level, while they could decline 19% in Southeast Asia, the authors wrote.

Remittances to Asia Pacific, which amounted to $315 billion in 2019, are an important source of income for families and help boost recipient nations’ external financing. Governments in the region could help manage the impact by extending temporary social services and providing income support to poor recipient families, among other policies, the authors wrote.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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