Q3 remittances at 6-quarter low

Last Updated: Sun, Mar 31, 2013 04:49 hrs

At $14.86 billion, net remittances to India in the quarter ended December stood at a six-quarter low, despite the period accounting for the festive season. Experts attributed this to the slowdown in the global economy.

During the quarter, non-resident Indians sent $15.60 billion of remittances, while remittances from India stood at $741 million. Remittances were the lowest since the first quarter of 2011-12, when these stood at $14.29 billion. In the third quarter of 2011-12, remittances stood at $15.6 billion. In the quarters ended June and September, these stood at $16.1 billion and $15.5 billion, respectively.

"The fall in remittances from abroad in the third quarter of the current financial year is due to the global economic slowdown. It is unlikely it would rise substantially in the quarter ending March," said Madan Sabnavis, chief economist, CARE Ratings.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data showed in the fourth quarter of the last financial year, remittances stood at $16.4 billion; in the third quarter, these totalled $15.6 billion.

World Bank had said in 2012, India would get $70 billion in remittances, the most among developing countries. Recent RBI figures showed on a net basis, remittances in 2012 stood at only $63 billion. In gross terms, these stood at $65 billion. World Bank had estimated in 2012, remittances received by China would be $66 billion, while the Philippines would get $24 billion.

"In the festive months, remittances came down. This is disturbing. It shows the global economic condition," said Soumya Kanti Ghosh, senior fellow, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations.

He added when the job market abroad was uncertain, remittances were bound to be affected.

Of the $14.86 billion of remittances, workers accounted for about half ($7.45 billion), on a net basis. Workers' remittances, too, stood at a six-quarter low. In the first quarter of 2011-12, these stood at $6.78 billion.

Secondary income, which includes remittances and government transfers, fell to $15.7 billion in the quarter ended December, 2012, against $16.2 billion in the year-ago period. In the second quarter of 2012-13, it stood at $16.1 billion, while in the first quarter, it was $16.8 billion.

Analysts said though remittances didn't have a major impact on the current account deficit, which rose to $32.6 billion in the quarter ended December 2012 (against $20.2 billion in the year-ago period), these reflected the precarious nature of job markets in the current uncertain global economic environment.

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