Inward remittances drop by almost 38% in November

Inward remittances drop by almost 38% in November

The most noticeable change among all countries is the greatest decrease seen in AUD, with remittances from Australia dropping by 52.3% or Nu 1.9bn in 2022, compared to 2021

The country has seen a drastic drop in inward remittance over the last 11 months, with a decrease of almost 38% or Nu 2.91bn compared to the same period in 2021. Except for the remittances received from Canada which has slightly increased, there has been a drop in remittances from almost all other countries. 

Meanwhile, the decrease has occurred even as the number of Bhutanese working in countries like Australia has increased drastically in the last couple of years. Remittances from Australia has dropped by 52.3% in 2022 as compared to 2021. The highest amount of remittances in the last 11 months (January-February) received in 2022 was from US, which accounted for Nu 2.34 bn or USD 29.94 million. However, in the same period in 2021, the figure was Nu 3.19mn, which means the remittance from US has decreased by 26% or Nu 854.94mn.

However, the most noticeable change among all countries is the greatest decrease seen in AUD. In the last 11 months of 2022, remittances received from Australia amounted to Nu 1.82 billion or AUD 34.66 million. In the same period in 2021, the country received Nu 3.82 billion. This means that remittances from Australia have dropped by 52.3% or Nu 1.9 billion.

Meanwhile, many people have been going to Australia, which has sparked hope among the people in Bhutan to receive money in the form of remittances. However, the decreasing figures of remittances from Australia show a different picture

According to a financial expert, despite the increasing number of Bhutanese leaving for Australia, the decrease in remittances could be due to the fact that those traveling to Australia take money for their tuition fees, visa application fees, and to survive in Australia until they find a job. The reason for the decreasing inward remittance can be due to the fact that there is an outward flow of money, which is greater than the inward remittances.

He also mentioned that there has been a significant exodus of people in the past few months. “This suggests that a substantial number of individuals who have moved to the area have not yet established themselves, and as a result, their families are sending money from Bhutan to support them,” the expert said.

Other experts suggest that another factor contributing to the decrease in remittances from Australia could be that Bhutanese individuals are no longer investing in Bhutan. Instead, they are purchasing property in Australia solely to obtain permanent residency (PR) in the country. The same was shared by a Bhutanese working in Australia. “Bhutanese are increasingly investing in Australia in areas like real estate. Moreover, there are many Bhutanese who have brought their entire family to Australia and there is no longer a need for them to send money home. All these factors will contribute to the decrease in remittances,” he said.

Meanwhile remittances in terms of Canadian dollar saw an improvement. However remittances in Singaporean dollar, pound Sterling, Euro, and Japanese yen saw drastic decrease.

Out of total Nu 4.6bn, remittances in Euro was Nu 69.37 mn, pound sterling at Nu 35.97mn, Singaporean dollar at Nu 129.68 mn, Canadian Dollar at Nu 82.45mn and Japanese yen at Nu 67.61.

Meanwhile the amount of remittances received reached an all-time high of Nu 1.45 billion in July of 2022, when the USD against Ngultrum exchange rate rose to Nu 79.62.

The least amount came in at Nu 290.66 mn in February 2022, when the USD against Ngultrum exchange rate was Nu 75.03

Tshering Pelden from Thimphu