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A currency exchange in Sharjah Image Credit: File photo

Dubai: Expatriates in the UAE sent home a total of Dh39.9 billion during the last three months of 2018, or roughly Dh13.3 billion a month, and the bulk of the funds landed in India, Pakistan, Philippines, United States (US) and Egypt.

The latest quarterly report released by the UAE Central Bank showed that among the five top-receiving countries, the South Asian country remained the biggest beneficiary of salaries earned in the United Arab Emirates, accounting for more than a third (34.2 per cent) of outbound money transfers.

India captured a total of Dh13.6 billion worth of cash sent through exchange houses and banks during the fourth quarter of 2018, while Pakistan scored the second-highest share of Dh3.8 billion, or 9.4 per cent of the total remittances.

Families and dependents in the Philippines, among other recipients, got the third-biggest share, pegged at Dh2.9 billion or 7.2 per cent of the money flows.

Expatriates were also moving a considerable amount of money to the United States, which received the fourth-biggest slice of the remittance pie at Dh2.3 billion, followed by Egypt in the fifth place, which got Dh2.2 billion.

Remittances are a major source of sustenance for millions of families and dependents of expatriates around the world. They also fuel the local economy by boosting domestic demand, as well as investments.

However, the UAE Central Bank report noted that the latest figures show a declining trend, owing to the softening in the employment sector. The total amount of money moved overseas from October to December 2018 was actually Dh3.3 billion lower compared to the same period in 2017, when expatriates sent home a total of Dh43.2 billion.

“Despite continued [appreciation of the US dollar and UAE dirham], there has been a slowdown in personal remittances outflow in line with employment slowdown,” the Central Bank said.

Employment in the UAE’s private sector dropped year-on-year by 0.5 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2018. In the preceding quarter, from June to September 2018, job figures posted a 1.9 per cent increase.