Remittance inflows fell in the month of April and are also down year to date for Jamaica, even while other countries are experiencing a rise in flows.
Jamaicans collected US$272 million in remittances in April, nearly six per cent less than a year ago.
Year to date, remittance inflows totalled US$1.072 billion, or 0.9 per cent less than the US$1.082 billion a year earlier. The bulk of the transfers emanated from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Cayman Islands.
Remittance are funds sent as gifts to persons in other countries. It mostly reflects money movements from developed nations with large diaspora populations or migrant communities that support households at home.
On a net basis, that is, inflows minus outflows, April remittances were estimated at US$253.2 million, down from US$271.6 million a year earlier.
Jamaica’s remittance inflows decline of 0.9 per cent compared to the growth of 9.8 per cent, 9.9 per cent and 4.8 per cent recorded by Guatemala, Mexico and El Salvador, respectively, the Bank of Jamaica reported in its monthly remittance bulletin.
The confidence surveys done quarterly by pollster Don Anderson on behalf of the Jamaica Chamber Chamber of Commerce incorporates questions relating to remittances, which is second only to tourism in foreign exchange flows for Jamaica.
Since the onset of COVID-19, there was an initial spike in households claiming they receive remittances to 35 per cent of respondents in 2020, but that dipped to 29 per cent in 2021, and 26 per cent in 2022. This year, however, Anderson has so far noted a slight uptick in persons claiming to receive remittances over the period January to June.
“We see that number in the first two quarters of 2023 inch back up to 27 per cent,” he said at Tuesday’s release of the latest business and consumer confidence surveys.
“We have established that a significant percentage of Jamaican households use remittances to shore up their household needs, it is a factor that cushions them against the challenges that they face in the economy. So when we see this fall-off, it is almost consistent with a decline in consumer confidence over the period,” Anderson said.
The confidences indices were launched in 2001, and questions regarding remittances were added a decade later in 2011.