Saudi remittances up 22.5% in six months

Foreign workers in Saudi Arabia boosted their remittances by nearly 22.5 per cent in the first half of 2010 as the Gulf kingdom’s economy continues to recover from the repercussions of the 2008 global fiscal distress, official figures showed on Sunday.

From around SR47.8 billion ($11.9bn) in the first half of 2009, total remittances by Saudi-based expatriates surged to SR58.6bn ($15.6bn) in the first half of 2010, showed the figures by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (Sama), the country’s central bank.

A breakdown showed the remittances stood at about SR28.3bn in the first quarter of 2010 and SR30.3bn in the second quarter.

Remittances totaled about SR96.3bn ($26bnn) through 2009 and nearly SR87.5bn ($23.5bn) during 2008.

An estimated 8.4 million expatriates, mostly Arabs and Asians, live in Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter with a population of around 27.1m.

Saudi Arabia has remained the largest Gulf source of hard currency for labour-export countries, mainly Arab nations and south Asia. It is followed by the UAE and Kuwait.

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