Up, Up

Workers’ remittances are a key source of foreign exchange for developing countries, at more than 100 billion dollars a year and expected to rise, but transaction costs remain high, experts and officials say. Workers’ remittances are a key source of foreign exchange for developing countries, at more than 100 billion dollars a year and expected to rise, but transaction costs remain high, experts and officials say. Remittance inflows for 90 developing countries amounted to about 100 billion dollars in 2003, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The World Bank says the figure could have risen to 126 billion dollars in 2004.

“This rising trend is likely to persist as population aging continues and pressures for migration from developing to advanced economies increase,” the IMF said in a report Thursday.

The five single largest recipients of remittances are India, Mexico, the Philippines, Egypt and Turkey, while their main sources are the United States, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Germany and France, the IMF said.

For many countries, remittances constitute the single-largest source of foreign exchange, exceeding export revenues, official aid, foreign direct investment, and other privat