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Jordan remittances fall 10% as a result of COVID-19 blow

AMMAN, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Jordan’s remittances, one of the country’s main sources of foreign currency, fell 10 % to $1.94 bln in the first seven months year-on-year, reaching levels it has not seen in over a decade due to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on regional economies, central bank data showed.

The kingdom received $3.7 billion in remittances from abroad last year that comprise around 10% percent of its GDP, helping it beef up its $14 bln foreign reserves.

The IMF said the aid dependent economy was expected to witness a sharp contraction this year which officials estimate at around 5% and the country’s balance of payments strained by the collapse in tourism and weakening remittances.

Jordan has opened all sectors of the economy in a bid to revive its hard-hit economy.

Most of Jordan’s expatriate labour force work in Gulf countries which have laid off tens of thousands of foreigners and cut spending plans due to the fallout caused by COVID-19, that has brought a slump in oil and gas demand.

The World Bank said remittances to the Middle East and North Africa region are projected to fall by 19.6 percent to $47 billion in 2020, following the 2.6 percent growth seen in 2019.

The anticipated decline was attributable to the global slowdown as well as the impact of lower oil prices in Gulf states, the world body said. (Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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