KARACHI: Overseas Pakistani workers sent home $1.5 billion in October 2016, slightly up by 1.2% compared to October 2015, according to data of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

The flow of remittances in October was much better than the previous month when it slowed down significantly by 9.3% compared with September 2015.

However, the remittances that the country received in first four months (July-October) of fiscal year 2016-17 stood at $6.258 billion, down 3.82% compared with $6.507 billion in the same period of preceding year.

Like many other developing countries, Pakistan’s remittances have come under pressure due to world economic slowdown mainly because of low crude oil prices.

Remittances play a major role in stabilising the country’s external sector, as they make up almost half the import bill and cover deficit in the trade of goods account.

Pakistan received remittances amounting to $19.9 billion in 2015-16, up 6.4% from the previous year.

Declining exports and a gradual slowdown in remittances are major challenges for economic managers of the country. However, SBP Governor Ashraf Mehmood Wathra is confident that the country faces no immediate threat from the slowdown in remittances and it is in a much better position to repay debts in the next four to five years.

Country-wise details for October 2016 showed that inflows from Saudi Arabia slightly increased to $470 million from $465 million in October 2015.

Remittances from the UAE, the US and the UK amounted to $358 million, $183 million and $173 million respectively compared to inflows of $367 million, $189 million and $198 million for the same period last year.

Additionally, remittances from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries (including Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman) and the EU states amounted to $183 million and $35 million respectively compared with the inflow of $178 million and $31.6 million in October 2015.

Remittances from Norway, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Japan and other countries increased to $156 million in October 2016, up 38% compared with $113 million in October 2015.

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