Big rise in remittances from expat Indians in Kuwait

May 29th, 2008 - 3:44 pm ICT by admin  

Dubai, May 29 (IANS) Remittances by expatriate Indians in Kuwait have skyrocketed in the past three weeks following a drop in the value of the Indian rupee. “This is a win-win situation for Indian expats and they should try to capitalise on the weak rupee by remitting money as the rupee weakness will not last long,” Titus E.D., director and general manager of Bahrain Exchange Company (BEC), told the Arab Times newspaper.

“Towards the end of the year, I believe, the rupee will appreciate,” he added.

After having risen by 12 percent in 2007, the rupee fell by 8.2 percent this year.

As of now, one Kuwaiti dinar (KD1) fetches Rs.162. According to the BEC, it was Rs.150 a month ago, Rs.145 two months ago and Rs.143.50 in January this year.

Kuwait’s currency is the only currency in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries that is not pegged to the US dollar. All the other GCC currencies have fallen in value in recent times due to their peg to the plunging greenback.

According to Titus, the rupee is likely to appreciate by the end of this year because the US currency continues to be weak.

As of now, however, there is great competition between money exchange companies over Indian remitters.

Titus said that the period between 13th and 25th of every month was slack for money exchanges but that was not the case this month, as expatriate workers continued to send huge amounts of money.

To remit Rs.1,000, the BEC charges an equivalent of KD6.200 while the charge is KD6.210 when it is a door-to-door draft.

Rohit Mishra, a contract worker, told the newspaper that he sent Rs.50,000 to his family in Bihar after he realised that the value of the currency had gone down.

“I borrowed KD100 (Rs.16,130) from friends as I did not want to miss out on this golden opportunity. Thanks to the weak rupee, the purchasing power of my family back home has increased. I am planning to borrow more money in the coming days to send another Rs.20,000,” he said.

An estimated 5.7 million Indian workers abroad sent home $27 billion in 2007 to make India the world’s top receiver of migrant remittances, according to a World Bank report. A large chunk of the money comes from expatriate workers in the Gulf.

Workers from China ($25.7 billion), Mexico ($25 billion), the Philippines ($17 billion), and France ($12.5 billion) made up the rest of top five, the report said.

There are around 550,000 expatriate Indians in Kuwait.

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