Worker remittances to Sri Lanka in April declined close to a third in what could be the most pronounced fall recorded in a single month, according to the Central Bank data.
Worker remittances, which showed first cracks in March, fell by 32.3 percent in April to US $ 375 million, from US $ 553.7 million in the same month in 2019.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, much of the economic activities were suspended around the world and people were asked to bunker at homes to stem the spread of the pandemic.
Despite the steep decline in April, the cumulative fall in remittances for the first four months of the year was only 9 percent from the same period last year.
For the four months ended in April, Sri Lankan migrant workers sent US $ 1,975.4 million, compared to US $ 2,170.9 million in the same period last year.
Meanwhile, in rupee terms, the decline was only 5.9 percent at Rs.364.6 million, due to the depreciation of the rupee |against the dollar.
By May 22, the year-to-date depreciation of the Sri Lankan rupee was 2.8 percent against the US dollar, the Central Bank data showed.
The World Bank in April estimated the pandemic could plunge remittance inflows to Sri Lanka by as much as 19 percent to US $ 5.4 billion in 2020, from US $ 6.7 billion in 2019 while some others estimate the impact to be 10 percent or less.