|Customers conduct transactions at a branch of East Asia Bank in Ha Noi. An increase in overseas remittances this year is being attributed in part to the availability of faster electronic transactions.— VNA/VNS Photo Tran Viet
HA NOI (VNS)— Overseas remittances to Viet Nam were estimated to total US$10 billion last year, the highest figure in the last four years.
Most of the remittances were sent through banks, according to the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs, compared to previous years when a lot was exchanged on the black market.
The committee reported that the remittance volume was up 10 per cent on 2011.
Around 4.5 million Vietnamese, including more than 400,000 guest workers, were living in more than 100 countries and territories worldwide, according to the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs.
Over 80 per cent of them were settled in developed nations.
The remittances sent home by Vietnamese guest workers from Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan and elsewhere in Asia had increased considerably, while those from Europe and the US had decreased, according to Maritime Bank's forex and foreign remittance department.
Viet Nam plans to send 90,000 people to work in foreign countries and territories this year, mainly to South Korea, Malaysia, Russia and Taiwan, according to the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs. Last year's number was about 80,000.
The increase in overseas remittances is attributed to the renovation in money transfer to make transactions faster and easier.
Meanwhile, Nguyen Hoang Minh, deputy director of the State Bank's HCM City Branch, said normally the remittance volume sent to the city accounted for between 42-43 per of the country's total.
About $4.1 billion in foreign remittances were sent to HCM City last year. Of this figure, 70 per cent went into production and business, 23 per cent into real estate and 6 per cent to assisting relatives in Viet Nam.
A leader of a commercial bank in Ha Noi said that in previous years, a large volume of remittance sent to Viet Nam came through the black market due to the high disparity in exchange rate between the banks and the free market.
Last year, the State Bank put in place policies and measures to keep the exchange rate relatively stable, thus helping narrow the gap between commercial banks and the black market. Therefore, most of the remittances sent to Viet Nam last year were made through commercial banks. — VNS