Customers form a queue at a money remittance centre in Dubai. Image Credit: Pankaj Sharma, Gulf News

Dubai:  Expatriates in the UAE continue to send more of their earnings back to their home countries as the US dollar holds strong against several currencies, with remittances in the last quarter alone reaching Dh43.2 billion.

According to the figures released by the UAE Central Bank, outgoing money transfers went up by Dh1 billion in December 2017 from the Dh42.2 billion funds remitted during the same period last year. The funds were sent by individuals through UAE banks and exchange houses.

The bulk of the billions of cash moving out of the UAE, approximately 70 per cent, landed in seven countries, with India bagging the lion’s share of Dh14.8 billion, estimated to be 34 per cent of the total outflows.

Residents or beneficiaries based in Pakistan received the second-largest amount of funds, with Dh4.1 billion, followed by those in the Philippines, with Dh3.1 billion.

The United States emerged as the fourth-biggest beneficiary of remittances, with Dh2.6 billion, while Egypt trailed behind with Dh2.4 billion, United Kingdom with Dh1.8 billion and Bangladesh with Dh1.5 billion.

Value of money transfers from UAE to 7 countries in Q4 2017:

India: Dh14.8 billion
Pakistan: Dh4.1 billion
Philippines: Dh3.1 billion
United States: Dh2.6 billion
Egypt: Dh2.4 billion
United Kingdom: Dh1.8 billion
Bangladesh: Dh1.5 billion

The value of money sent out to beneficiaries abroad seem to be consistent with the size of the migrant communities in the UAE, as well as the performance of the US dollar, to which the UAE dirham is pegged.

India, which topped the list of remittance beneficiaries, account for the biggest proportion of expatriate population in the UAE.

During the last quarter of 2017, when the Egyptian pound and the Philippine peso fell against the US dollar by 22.1 per cent and 3.6 per cent, respectively, remittances to Egypt and the Philippines went up by 28 per cent and 9.9 per cent, respectively, the UAE Central Bank noted.

Similarly, the amount of money sent to Pakistan jumped by 19.5 per cent when the country’s rupee depreciated by 1.5 per cent against the UAE dirham.

The growth in total outflows to India apparently slowed down in December 2017, registering only a 2.2 per cent quarterly increase compared to 14.5 per cent in December 2016, as the Indian rupee appreciated against the dirham during the period.

A strong dollar or UAE dirham works in favour of expats, as it means higher purchasing power of their earnings when spent in their home country.