IDB sees remittances to Latin America declining in 2009

Fourth quarter of 2008 registers first decline in nearly a decade. Flows of money sent home by migrants hit by economic slowdown, exchange rate swings

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


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After almost a decade of growth, remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean are likely to decline in 2009 for the first time since the Inter-American Development Bank started tracking these flows in the year 2000. Remittances have been decreasing since late 2008.

The money sent home by migrant workers is a key source of income for millions of families across this region. Last year Latin American and Caribbean expatriates transferred some $69.2 billion to their homelands, 0.9 percent more than in 2007, according to the IDB’s Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF).

The break in the upward trend took place after the first semester of 2008. After a flat third quarter, in the fourth quarter remittances dropped to $17 billion, 2 percent less than in the same period of 2007. For the few countries that have reported data for January, totals were down by as much as 13 percent.

“While it is too early to project by how much remittances may decline in 2009, this is bad news for millions of people in our region who depend on these flows to make ends meet,” said IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno.

“The issue has become more complex, as more factors have come into play. The world is facing its worst economic crisis in recent memory. Unemployment is rising in industrialized nations. The climate against immigration is becoming harsher. Even exchange rate fluctuations are playing a larger role than before,” Moreno noted.

More on this topic

IDB sees remittances to Latin America declining in 2009

March 2009

Fourth quarter of 2008 registers first decline in nearly a decade. Flows of money sent home by migrants hit by economic slowdown, exchange rate swings

After almost a decade of growth, remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean are likely to decline in 2009 for the first time since the Inter-American Development Bank started tracking these flows in the year 2000. Remittances have been decreasing since late 2008.

Remittances for $13.06 billion to Central America in 2011

March 2012

By country: Guatemala $4.37 billion; El Salvador $3.65 billion; Honduras $2.86 billion; Nicaragua $1.05 billion; Panama $592 millions; Costa Rica $530 millions.

Inter-American Development Bank Report:

Remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean rose to $61 billion in 2011

The IMF's prescription for Honduras

July 2010

Gradual increase in exchange rate flexibility, supported by fiscal consolidation, wage moderation, and a prudent monetary policy.

On July 12, 2010, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the Article IV consultation with Honduras.

Background

Solving the Remittance Decline

May 2008

Until recently, the nations of Latin America have been relatively unaffected by the financial crisis that is affecting the world’s leading economic powers.

However, there are growing signs of an infection that could influence Latin America indirectly. Experts worry about the drop-off in remittance payments sent home by Latin American workers who have settled in other countries to their countries of origin.

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