Bangladeshi remittances dip for sixth month in a row

DHAKA Mon Feb 3, 2014 7:02am EST

DHAKA Feb 3 (Reuters) - The amount of money sent home by Bangladeshis working overseas dropped 5.8 percent to $1.25 billion in January from a year earlier, the central bank said on Monday, slipping for the sixth straight month.

Millions of expatriate Bangladeshis remitted $8 billion from July to January, the first seven months of the current financial year, down nearly 9 percent from the same period in the previous year.

Officials say remittances have dropped over the last few months because the number of Bangladeshis going to work in the Middle East has declined.

Strong remittances in recent years have helped build foreign exchange reserves to more than $18 billion.

Bangladesh received $14.46 billion in remittances in the 2012/13 fiscal year, up 12.6 percent from a year earlier.

Remittances from about 9 million citizens abroad are critical for the impoverished nation and are a key source of foreign exchange alongside garments, which account for 80 percent of total export earnings of about $27 billion a year.

The pace of economic growth in Bangladesh is expected to slow to less than 6 percent this financial year, largely because of political turmoil. (Reporting by Ruma Paul; Editing by Robert Birsel)