Vietnam remittances hit US$3.7 billion in October

Vietnamese remittances from overseas to Ho Chi Minh City, one of the country's leading destinations for remittances, hit US$3.7 billion by the end of October, a year-on-year increase of 13%.

Nguyen Hoang Minh, Deputy Director of the State Bank of Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City branch, said that the inward remittance was up US$450 million against September 30 and equal to 72.5% of the entire 2014.

Minh said that the remittances to the city during the year-end months were often higher than those in the first months of the year, estimating that the remittances in the fourth quarter alone could be equal to that in the first six or seven months of the year.

At this speed, Minh expected the remittances to hit US$5.5 billion this year, up US$500 million against 2014.

Minh attributed the rise to the recent favourable devaluation of the dong against the US dollar, the recovery of local businesses, the warming real estate market and the Government's decision to allow foreigners to own homes in Vietnam.

Director of Dong A Bank's Remittance Co Tran Van Trung told Sai Gon Dau tu tai chinh (Sai Gon Financial Investment) newspaper that his company targeted a remittance growth rate of 15% to 20% this year. In 2014, remittances to the company reached US$1.6 billion, up 10% against the previous year. 

Besides the traditional markets of the US, Australia and Canada, where there are many Viet kieu (oversea Vietnamese), his company will also focus on new markets such as Japan and Malaysia, which are Vietnam's large labour export markets.

Sacombank, meanwhile, targeted a remittance of US$1.9 billion this year, equal to that of last year.

Vietnamese living abroad remitted more than US$5 billion to Ho Chi Minh City in 2014, 4.2% higher than in 2013, according to the city's Committee for Overseas Vietnamese.

Between 1993 and 2014, Vietnam received total remittances of about US$96.66 billion, with an average remittance of US$4.4 billion per year, accounting for 6.8% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) over the period.

Remittances into Vietnam have increased about 22.4% annually in the past two decades, with an exception in 1997 and 2009 when economies in the world faced a financial crisis.