Remittances continue to soar

By Adel Fruean 09 December 2020, 3:00PM

As Samoa’s economy continues to slide, money sent from overseas to Samoa continue to rise with new data showing remittances registering a monthly rise of more than 10 per cent in October. 

On a yearly basis, remittances for October rose even more, or by a total of 34.2 per cent, or $14.2 million when compared to the month prior. 

The growth was measured in a monthly report, ‘Visitor Earnings and Remittances’, issued by the Central Bank of Samoa.

The report’s information is sourced from the Central Bank, Samoa Bureau of Statistics and the Ministry for Revenue. 

The 10.2 per cent rise, or $5.2 million, for October 2019 was when compared to the month prior.

In total, $55.6 million was sent into the country for the month.

Despite the hugely adverse impacts of COVID-19 on Samoa’s main source markets of overseas money, the monthly increase mainly came from increased receipts from New Zealand ($6.6 million), Australia ($5.9 million), American Samoa ($2.4 million) and others ($1.8 million).

By recipient, the largest increase came from ‘Family and Households’, up by $16.6 million for the month.

While at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic a major forecast in global remittances was forecast, it has not materialised for Samoa. 

The total inflow of private remittances in the first four months of the current Financial Year grew by 19.5 per cent or some $35.2 million to reach $215.5 million when compared to the same period the year before. 

Largely responsible for the overall increase in the first four months were higher transfers from Australia ($22.8 million), New Zealand ($14.6 million) and American Samoa ($7.7 million).

Similarly, families and households received the lion’s share of the increase with $63.4 million. 

The monthly share of remittances inflows received through Money Transfer Operators (M.T.O.s) edged up to 89.2 per cent from 83.7 per cent in October 2019. 

Those received directly through commercial banks fell to 10.8 per cent from 16.3 per cent.

The average monthly cost of sending NZD $200.00 to Samoa fell to 10.10 per cent from 11.17 per cent in October 2019 while the average cost of sending AUD $200.00 also fell to 8.13 per cent from 8.76 per cent over the year. 

Meanwhile, the nation’s tourism industry is continuing its fall, with the sector’s price index falling by 20.8 per cent on a yearly basis due to reductions in sub-indices including accommodation, meals and drinks, family obligations and the miscellaneous sub-indices.

By Adel Fruean 09 December 2020, 3:00PM

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