RIYADH — Expatriate remittances in Saudi Arabia to overseas countries have increased during the first four months of this year (2020) by 2.3 percent, equivalent to SR991 million, to reach about SR43.65 billion, compared to SR42.66 billion during the same period in 2019.

According to Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) data, remittances by expatriates in the Kingdom had declined during April 2020, on an annual basis of 8.7 percent, equivalent to SR931 million, to reach about SR9.79 billion, compared to SR10.72 billion during the same month in 2019.

On a monthly basis, foreign remittances in Saudi Arabia have dropped by 20 percent, equivalent to SR2.4 billion, compared to SR12.22 billion in March 2020, according to Al-Eqtisadiah newspaper.

Remittances by residents in the Kingdom to overseas countries during 2019 fell by 8 percent to about SR125.5 billion, compared to SR136.4 billion in 2018.

Money transfers registered a decline for the fourth year in a row for the first time in 15 years, as they also declined during the period 2001–2004, but in lesser percentages than in the current period.

Remittances decreased last year at the highest rate, compared to previous years, as they dropped by 3.7 percent during 2018, by 6.7 percent in 2017, and by 3.2 percent in 2016.

Remittances by foreigners in 2019 registered the lowest levels since 2012 — in about seven years — and did not witness an annual decline of 8 percent for a long time, as they declined at the same percentage (8 percent) only in 1996.

Remittances by expatriates in 2015 were the largest by about SR156.86 billion, meaning that last year's (2019) remittances were about 20 percent less than their highest levels.

On the other hand, remittances by Saudis to overseas countries dropped during April 2020 by 42 percent, on year on year basis, equivalent to SR2.1 billion, to reach about SR2.95 billion, compared to SR5.06 billion during the same month in 2019.

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