By Thuy Dung - The Saigon Times Daily
HANOI - Remittance poured into Vietnam this year is estimated to reach US$9 billion compared to last year’s US$8 billion, or a year-on-year rise of 12.5%.
At a conference on international migration held in Hanoi on Wednesday, Dang Nguyen Anh, an expert at Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, forecasted that of the total remittance of US$9 billion in 2011, money sent by Vietnamese guest-workers abroad is about US$1.8-2 billion and the rest is mainly sent by the overseas Vietnamese.
Anh said a recent preliminary survey showed that the remittance this year mainly flowed to rural areas instead of urban areas.
According to a report given at the conference, a substantial amount of remittance is invested in securities and real estate. The fund is hardly visible because a lot of overseas Vietnamese invested in these sectors under the name of their relatives in Vietnam to dodge the law and avoid domestic administrative formalities.
However, Anh also commented that the trend of using remittances this year has shifted to education and living standard improvement rather than concentrating on real estate and securities as before.
The ample remittance poured into Vietnam contributed to improving the country’s balance of payment and foreign currency reserves as well as easing the pressure on the exchange rate.
By comparison, remittance accounts for nearly 10% of the country’s GDP, and is almost equivalent to the foreign direct investment pledged in Vietnam this year. It is twice the amount of foreign currencies spent by international visitors in Vietnam.
As assessed by the World Bank, Vietnam ranks 16th out of 20 countries receiving the highest volume of remittances in 2010. In South East Asia, Vietnam ranks second after the Philippines with about US$21.3 billion.
According to data from the Overseas Vietnamese Committee, as of October 2010, there were above four million overseas Vietnamese living in nearly 100 countries and territories around the world, with about 80% living and working in developed countries.