UAE expats sent $1.4 bln back home during Eid

Expatriate workers in the United Arab Emirates – who make up over 80 percent of the country’s population of 8.5 million – sent around $1.36 billion (5 billion dirhams) during this week’s celebrations that mark the end of Ramadan, currency exchange experts estimate.

Known as remittances, the money transfers, many made through the UAE’s lucrative exchange businesses, grew around 20 percent from last year’s Eid al-Fitr celebrations.

Experts attributed the rise to three main factors – an overall rise in incomes this year, a region-wide economic crisis triggering high savings rates from worried expats, and the soaring value of the dollar-pegged dirham.

The executive director of one of the UAE’s largest exchange houses, told local daily al-Bayan that this holiday week saw a “huge growth” in remittances to many Arab and Asian countries, including an increase in exchange transactions.

Mohammed Ali al-Ansari, the executive director for Al-Ansari Exchange, said that the daily average sent home by expatriates during the past week exceeded three-fold the usual daily average registered in the rest of the year.

Last month’s Brexit vote, which caused a dramatic drop in pound sterling, may have also pushed dollar-rich British expats to snap up cut-price cash.

According to the newest report released by the UAE’s central bank, the flow of remittances from expats in 2015 stood at $23.88 billion, compared to $22.08 billion the year before – an 8.14 percent increase.

Source: Al Arabiya

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