DHAKA, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Bangladesh received a record high
$14.17 billion in remittances from citizens working overseas in
2012, 16.5 percent up on 2011, despite a cooling global economy,
a senior central bank official said on Saturday.
Remittances brought in $12.165 billion in 2011.
"The country received almost 17 percent more money from the
expatriates despite economic slowdown both in the U.S.A. and
countries in the European Union," said Hassan Zaman, Chief
Economist of the Bangladesh Bank.
"Undoubtedly it is a cushion (for) much needed foreign
exchange reserves," he told Reuters.
Overseas recruitment in 2012 grew 22 percent as around
691,402 job seekers went abroad in 2012, up from 567,505 in
2011, according to the central bank.
It has asked all the 15 commercial banks who have exchange
units outside the country to make sure their currency rates
encourage expatriates to use legal methods of sending money
home, Zaman said.
Remittances from about nine million citizens working abroad
are critical for the impoverished South Asian nation, which
otherwise depends heavily on garment exports which account for
80 percent of its $25 billion a year export earnings.
Remittances helped boost the country's foreign exchange
reserves to $12.75 billion in December 2012, from $9.63 billion
in December 2011.
(Reporting by Serajul Quadir; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)