Spain's immigrant remittances soar despite slowdown
Amount of money sent abroad in 2007 up 20 percent on previous year19 March 2008
MADRID - Immigrants living in Spain sent a record EUR 8.135 billion to their home countries last year, an increase of 19.5 percent from 2006 that confirms Spain's leading position as a key distributor of wealth between the developed and developing worlds.
The value of remittances in 2007 compares to the EUR 6.8 billion migrants sent to their countries of origin in 2006, according to figures from the Bank of Spain.
Spain's 4.5 million immigrants, around 10 percent of the population, are now the leading senders in Europe of financial remittances to developing countries, and the third largest in the world after their counterparts in the United States and Saudi Arabia.
According to a report by savings bank La Caixa, immigrant remittances have increased 60-fold since 1990, when immigrants sent home just EUR 150 million, and now amply surpass the around EUR 5 billion that Spaniards living abroad send back to Spain each year.
However, it is likely that migrant remittances from Spain will slow parallel to a slowdown in the Spanish economy, caused in part by the end of a decade-long construction boom. In December, for example, migrants sent home EUR 698 million, down from a record monthly high of EUR 770 million in October.
[Copyright El Pais / ANGELES ESPINOSA 2008]