Despite a growing population, workers’ remittances in the second quarter of 2013 have fallen compared to the same time period last year, according to data released by Qatar Central Bank.
Expats sent home some QR9 billion in the second three months of this year, compared to QR9.7 billion in the second quarter of 2012. The figures indicate that, despite a population increase of more than 164,000 so far, overall remittances will likely stay the same or increase only marginally this year.
A similar trend was observed last year, when expats sent home some QR52.7 ($13.5) billion, a 3.8 increase from 2011, which the QCB called “marginal.” At that time, economically active non-Qataris, who numbered some 1.3 million, were the major contributors of the remittances.
It is unclear why the amount of money people are sending home is stagnating, but in its latest report, the World Bank points out that people may send money home through less official methods because it’s cheaper:
“The high cost of sending money through official channels continues to be an obstacle to the utilization of remittances for development purposes, as people seek out informal channels as their preferred means for sending money home. The global average cost for sending remittances is 9 percent, broadly unchanged from 2012.”
Qatar’s increasing cost of living could also be a factor.
The cost of almost everything went up in October of this year, according to the latest available figures from the Qatar Statistics Authority. That includes rising residential rates, fuel and energy costs, and the price of entertainment, food and furniture.
Qatar’s new Emir has pledged to keep inflation down, but also has asked everyone to do their parts by being wise, prudent consumers.
Have rising costs affected how much money you send home? Thoughts?