JM | Nov 30, 2020

Jamaica’s remittance levels appear unaffected by COVID-19

/ Our Today

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US$66.3 million jump in remittances in September alone

The Bank of Jamaica. (Photo:

Jamaica’s remittance levels seem to have been unaffected by the COVID-19 global pandemic registering a big jump for September.

For September, the latest Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) Remittances Bulletin showed net remittance inflows of US$239.2 million, up by 38.4 per cent or US$66.3 million relative to September 2019. This improvement is largely reflective of an increase in gross remittance inflows of 34.4 per cent or US$66.5 million partly offset by an increase 0.9 per cent or US$0.2 million in outflows.

The rise in remittances to Jamaica runs counter to the projections put forward initially by both the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which forecasted a decline in remittances across the world this year with economies contracting and a rapid increase in unemployment numbers. 


According to the BOJ Remittances Bulletin for September 2020, the increase in gross remittance inflows was driven by an increase of 39.5 per cent coming from remittance companies and 6.2 per cent rise in inflows from other remittances.

The data shows that, despite the global uncertainties caused by COVID-19, Jamaicans overseas are sending home more money for their loved ones. The Remittance Bulletin showed a 30 per cent jump in remittances for the last six months reporting period (April-September).

Net remittance inflows during this period amounted to US$1.41 billion, representing an increase of US$325.9 million relative to the previous corresponding period. This improvement emanated from a 24.9 per cent or US$305.1 million increase in remittance inflows.

This was further driven by a decrease of 15.2 per cent or US$20.8 million in outflows. The increase in inflows resulted from a growth of 28.6 per cent in remittance companies and an increase of 5.9 per cent in other remittances.


The largest source market of remittances flows to Jamaica for September 2020 was from the United States, whose share increased to 67.4 per cent, coming from the 64.8 per cent recorded for September 2019. Other source countries, which contributed a notable share of remittances for the month were Canada at 12.0 per cent, followed by the United Kingdom with 10.6 per cent and The Cayman Islands at 6.3 per cent.

When compared to other countries, Jamaica’s growth rate in remittance inflows of 17.7 per cent was higher than that of Mexico, which registered a growth rate of 11.2 per cent during the period January to September 2020. At the same time, Guatemala registered a lower growth rate of roughly 4.0 per cent while El Salvador saw a 0.8 per cent increase in its inflows.

Overall, the January to September 2020 period had remittance inflows totalling US$2.09 billion.


Remittances for Jamaica in the June quarter grew by 14 per cent and for the month of June alone increased by 42 per cent to US$259 million.

According to the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) Quarterly Monetary Policy Report, remittance inflows for the April to June period in 2019 came in at US$603 million. For the same period this year, during the first wave of COVID-19, it rose to US$688 million.

For July 2020, net remittance increased by 44 per cent to US$275 million. From January to July 2020, inflows from remittances came to US$1.55 billion. This compares to US$1.37 billion for the same period last year.


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