Exchange houses in Qatar are expecting a surge in remittances in view of the expected appreciation in the value of the US dollar, industry sources have said.
“If the US dollar continues to maintain its strength, the dollar-pegged Qatari riyal will provide favourable exchange rates for expatriates as their home currencies are likely to depreciate further,” Mathai Vaidian, country head, Qatar-UAE Exchange told Gulf Times.
Vaidian also said the currency volatility in 2016 saw a surge in remittances from Qatar, especially to Europe and South Asian countries. “A weaker sterling, Philippine peso, Indian rupee, and Egyptian pound impacted remittances positively,” he stressed.
Al Mana Exchange senior manager Anand P Jakati also added that the upcoming inauguration of president-elect Donald Trump on January 20 will remain a factor in the US dollar’s strong rally.
“I think once Mr Donald Trump takes over, there may be some changes. Many people are expecting the dollar to strengthen,” he said on Monday.
But compared to the previous month, Jakati said remittance growth has taken a slower pace.
“Remittance growth has not picked up in the last one week but in December, it was okay. Last month, when the rupee was very low, we saw some increase in remittances. There was a surge of around 5% to 10% month-on-month. But for January (2017) it is still to come and it is still early to say,” he pointed out.
Vaidian said Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Jordan, Kenya, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and the UAE are some of Qatar-UAE Exchange’s major corridors.
“Our branches across the country experienced a steady rise in remittances to Egypt when the Central Bank of Egypt floated Egyptian pound, which had depreciated to more than 90% low in November 2016,” he said.
Vaidian noted that a weaker Indian rupee, coupled with demonetisation of the Rs500 and Rs1,000 currencies also spiked remittances to India as Indian expatriates were seen sending more money back home, resulting in a 12% growth in 2016.
“Remittances to Kenya also showed a significant increase in 2016 vis-à-vis 2015,” he added.
Jakati said: “For our exchange house, our major share is India. But we have also seen some improvements in remittances from the Philippines and Sri Lanka, but across the board almost all of the transactions have increased.”
He added that the June 30 deadline for non-resident Indians (NRIs) to exchange Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes that were demonetised in November last year have not affected remittances to India.
“It is quite normal, meaning, people know very well what to do and many NRIs have already exchanged their old bank notes,” he said.
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