- Feb. remittance income up 10% YoY to US $ 527.3mn
- Cumulative income up 13.2% to US $ 1.25bn in first two months
The remittance income from Sri Lankan migrant workers continued its climb in February, extending gains to its 10th consecutive month since last May.
According to the latest available data for February, Sri Lanka has received US $ 579.7 million in remittance income, which is a 10 percent increase from the US $ 527.3 million in the same month in 2020.
This is on top of the 16.3 percent increase seen in January, when the country collected as much as US $ 675.3 million to begin the year.
With the February figure, Sri Lanka has received a cumulative remittance income of US $ 1,255.0 million for the two months of this year, logging a 13.2 percent growth over the same two-month period in 2020.
Usually March gets the highest monthly remittance income, ahead of the New Year festivities in April, as people working abroad repatriate higher amounts of their earnings to their families and friends at home.
As the pandemic was unfolding by this time last year, the March and April remittance incomes plunged before rebounding strongly in May and has continued to this day.
This enabled the country to record a remittance income of US $ 7.1 billion in 2020, the highest in four years. Authorities expect the remittance income to hit US $ 7.5 billion this year.
With a lot of migrant workers shifting to formal banking channels for their money transfers in the absence of informal money transferors, due to the pandemic, is also said to be fuelling this higher remittance numbers since last year.
Early signs have also showed that Sri Lankans are ramping up spending leading up to the country’s biggest cultural festival of the year in April, as they ready for family reunion parties after two back-to-back events—2019’s Easter attacks and 2020’s pandemic—prevented them from celebrating.
Higher remittance incomes are directly fuelling this demand, among low interest rates, low taxes and higher consumer confidence on the economy.