Drop in migrant workers’ remittances hits Central Asian economies

Migrant Tajik workersMigrant workers: The woes of the Russian economy have begun trickling down to those of its Central Asian neighbours, where remittances from migrant labourers working in Russia have fallen sharply over the past months, according to a report from the World Bank. The hardest hit is, about 50% of whose working-age males work in Russia and whose remittances account for the equivalent of 49% of its GDP. The money they sent home fell by 8% in dollar terms last year – largely in Q4 – and that figure is expected to decline by a further 23% over the course of 2015. Kyrgyzstan, where remittances account for 32% of GDP, saw a 1% fall in 2014 with a further drop expected of 23% this year, while Uzbekistan (11.9% of GDP) experienced a 16% drop last year with another 30% predicted for 2015. 
The dollar’s strength has exacerbated the situation, says the report “The depreciation of the ruble compounded the decline in the U.S. dollar value of remittances to Central Asia. [For] example, the rouble value of remittances in Tajikistan increased by 7.6% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2014. However, the rouble depreciated against the dollar by 32% over the same period, and the dollar value of remittances fell by 26.7%…
“Overall, reduced remittances are likely to worsen standards of living in remittance-receiving countries, and the increasing number of returned migrants could put upward pressures on unemployment rates.” The bank expects remittances to start growing again in 2016.

 
Source: eurasianet