Inward foreign currency remittance of Nu 7.6bn in 2021

Remittance received accounts only for those sent through formal banking channels

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Bhutanese working abroad has remitted a record high of about Nu 7.6bn worth of foreign currencies into the country as of November 2021.

The records were high in the last two consecutive years including 2020 and 2021.

In 2020, the total inward remittance valued in local currency stands at about Nu 8.2bn and Nu 7.6bn as of November 2021.

The figures are according to the Monthly Statistical Bulletin for February 2022, which was released recently by the Royal Monetary Authority (RMA).

Remittance is, meanwhile, funds that an expatriate sends to their country of origin. These peer-to-peer transfers of funds across borders are economically significant for many countries that receive them.

However, the figures compiled by the RMA were extracted from the four commercial banks and exclude other channels like the Western Union money transfer and other informal means.

The inward remittance of the Australian Dollar (AUD) has doubled from AUD 5.34bn in 2020 and 3.82bn as of November last year. This could be attributed to the increasing number of Bhutanese leaving for Australia.

Of the total inward remittance received through the formal channels, about 50% was from Australia. The remittance from the US and the Middle East constituted about 40% and 10% percent respectively.

The inward remittance contributed to more than half of the total remittances, with about Nu 3.8bn (AUD 45.89mn), followed by Nu 3.19bn (USD 43.23mn) in 2021 as of November. There were 3.5 times more AUD remittances in two consecutive years than in 2019.

Further, remittances in denominations such as Pounds Sterling, Euro, and other European currency roughly equated to Nu 545mn as of November last year.

The exchange rate of the Dollar against the Ngultrum increased slightly to Nu 74.18 in November last year and was Nu 73.72 for the fiscal year average (2020-2021).

The RMA statistics show that the highest inward remittance amount of Nu 1.07bn was received during the month of April 2021, followed by Nu 1.04bn in October, and Nu 719.39mn in November last year.

Meanwhile, the inflow remittance helps in building foreign exchange reserves.

The US dollar and AUD against the Ngultrum is one of the reasons for the significant increase in inward remittance. A stronger Dollar bodes well for the recipients through conversion into the Ngultrum.

According to statistics released by the central bank, the average rate of the Dollar against the Ngultrum in 2021 was 73.73 compared with 74.11 in 2020.

Kinley Yonten from Thimphu