HCMC – Incoming remittances to HCMC amounted to US$5.1 billion from January to September 2021, surging 22% compared with the same period last year, according to Nguyen Hoang Minh, deputy director of the State Bank of Vietnam’s HCMC branch.
The first half of 2021 saw remittances to the city reaching US$3.2 billion, surging 22.34% year-on-year despite the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the third quarter alone, some US$1.9 billion was remitted to the city.
Minh said the remittances to HCMC came mostly from the United States, Australia, Canada and European countries.
Remittances went mainly into manufacturing and trade, contributing to the socioeconomic development of the city and the stable foreign currency supply of the whole country. Vietnamese living abroad also sent money home to help their families during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Over the years, remittances to HCMC have been rising steadily and the city accounts for a vast majority of incoming remittances. The city received US$6.1 billion in remittances last year, up 15% from 2019.
The city expected to get some US$6.5 billion worth of remittances this year.
Last year, Vietnamese living abroad sent home US$17.2 billion, a year-on-year increase of 3%, making Vietnam the world’s ninth biggest remittance beneficiary, according to a joint report of the World Bank and the Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development.
In the East Asia and Pacific region, Vietnam was the third biggest remittance beneficiary after China and the Philippines.
This was the fourth consecutive year that Vietnam was among the top 10 beneficiaries of incoming remittances. The figure was US$13.8 billion in 2017, US$15.9 billion in 2018 and US$17 billion in 2019.
The remittances in 2020 were equivalent to only 5% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), falling from 6.5% in 2019, the “Covid-19 Crisis through a Migration Lens” report showed. However, the country was still among the top 10 recipients in terms of the share of remittances in GDP last year.
Defying predictions, remittance flows have proved to be resilient during the Covid-19 crisis, the report said.
In 2020, the officially recorded remittance flows to low- and middle-income countries reached US$540 billion, only 1.6% below the US$548 billion seen in 2019.
Remittances exceeded foreign direct investment flows by a wider margin in 2020. Excluding China, remittance flows surpassed the sum of foreign direct investment and official development assistance.
Foremost among the drivers of remittance flows and reasons behind their resilience during the crisis was the desire of migrants to help their families, to send money home by cutting consumption or drawing on savings, according to the World Bank.