HCM CITY (VNS) — Viet Nam remains one of the world's top 10 remittance-receiving countries, with remittances from overseas Vietnamese this year estimated at US$10.6 billion, up 6.5 per cent compared with last year, according to the World Bank.
Remittances through official channels in HCM City is expected to reach $4.8 billion, compared with the $4.1 billion last year, according to Nguyen Hoang Minh, deputy director of the State Bank of Viet Nam's HCM City branch.
The remittances are mostly from the US and Europe, but remittances from China and South Korea increased sharply in 2013, accounting for nearly 5 per cent compared with the 0.2 to 0.3 per cent of total remittances to HCM City in previous years, according to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
Economist Le Xuan Nghia said despite economic turmoil, the stability of the Vietnamese dong had helped the country to attract foreign direct investment as well as remittances from the overseas Vietnamese community.
Nghia said that overseas Vietnamese' remittances also included money invested in projects in Viet Nam under the names of relatives.
The local security markets have also attracted investment from the expatriate community.
Some of the overseas investors have invested in the local real-estate sector and bought bad debts sold by the Viet Nam Asset Management Company (VAMC) in the local market, said Nghia.
Under a market study conducted by Western Union, there are two main groups of remittances in Viet Nam in recent years: remittances to support relatives in Viet Nam and remittances to pays debts, build houses or buy property in Viet Nam, according to Nguyen Thi Nhu Ly, regional director of Western Union, Indochina.
The Dong A Remittance Co has set a target of $1.35 billion in remittances, but that figure is expected to increase to $1.5 billion this year.
Trinh Hoai Nam, director of the company, said remittances from the company's major markets such as the US and Europe had increased sharply in the past few months.
The Sacomrex Remittance Co said the money to be remitted through the company would amount to $1.7 billion, 15 per cent higher than its target for 2013.
Remittances from some of its major markets rose 300 per cent over last year. Major surges were from countries with large numbers of Vietnamese workers.
Ngo Xuan Hai, director of Vietinbank's global money transferring company, estimated a 10 per cent increase over the $1.2 billion remittances through this channel last year. The US, South Korea and Taiwan are among Viet Nam's major remittance markets.
Hai said that previously most remittance recipients were from big cities, but now they are spread in northern provinces from Quang Tri to Quang Ninh, especially Nghe An, Thanh Hoa and Thai Binh, the native land of many Vietnamese guest workers.
Nguyen Thi Nhu Ly said in the past few years that Vietnamese guest workers, especially those working in Japan and Taiwan, had made a significant contribution to remittances to Viet Nam.
She said the number of countries from where money was remitted to Viet Nam has risen to 200 from 16 in 1994.
According to the Committee for Overseas Vietnamese, about 4.5 million overseas Vietnamese are residing abroad.
In addition, 500,000 Vietnamese are working as guest workers in other countries. — VNS