Remittances increase by $10.9million

The total private remittances for May 2020 have shown a significant improvement recording a 23.0 per cent increase of $10.9 million to $58.4 million, compared to the same month last year.

This was highlighted in a monthly report on Visitor earnings & Remittances issued by the Central Bank of Samoa this week.

According to the report, it states that largely underpinning this overall expansion over the year were increases in funds received from Australia of up by $7.2 million.

With American Samoa up by $3.6 million; USA up by $1.6 million and New Zealand up by $1.4 million which compensates the $2.8 million decrease from ‘Others’.

In terms of recipients, an increase was recorded for ‘Family and Households’ of up by $19.1 million offsetting the decreases in ‘Hand carried cash’, ‘Others’, ‘NPISH’ (non-profit institutions serving households) and In Kind.    

Correspondingly, total private remittances for the first eleven months of 2019/20 grew by 3.0 per cent or $15.0 million to $511.7 million over the same period of 2018/19.

By country, increases were recorded for New Zealand of up to $17.4 million and American Samoa up by $7.7 million respectively.

And partially responsible for the increase is the strengthening of the US dollar against the Tala.

Increases were also recorded for funds received from ‘Family and Households’ up by $35.2 million and ‘In Kind’ of up to $2.7 million accordingly. 

The share of remittances inflows received through Money Transfer Operators (MTO’s) increased to 92.5 per cent from 81.5 per cent in May 2019 while those received directly through commercial banks fell to 7.5 per cent from 18.5 per cent in the same month last year.  

The average monthly cost for sending NZD$200.00 to Samoa increased to 12.80 per cent from 10.88 per cent while the average cost of sending AUD$200.00 also rose to 9.63 per cent from 8.66 per cent.    

“As the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread globally taking the lives of more than 500,000 people, Samoa remains COVID free which is the result of the closure of our international borders and only opening for the repatriation of Samoan residents abroad,” read the report.

It also added that on that account, tourist arrivals for the month of May remained nought like the previous month and hence no visitors’ earnings. 

The total tourist arrivals and earnings in the first eleven months of 2019/20 remained constant at 124,399 people and $375.26 million respectively over the same period last year, stationed way below 23.4 per cent and 23.9 per cent in that order.

The tourism price index dropped further by 18.5 per cent compared to May 2019 as a result of the significant reduction of the ‘Accommodation’ sub index.   

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