HCMC received inward remittances worth $6.1 billion last year, a record high and up 12 percent from the previous year, despite the economic slump caused by Covid-19.
The figure exceeded the forecast of $5.5 billion, Nguyen Hoang Minh, deputy director of the city branch of the State Bank of Vietnam, said.
“This is impressive growth in the context that the Covid-19 outbreak affected the income of overseas workers.”
According to remittance companies, the inflows increased rapidly before Tet on February 12 since Vietnamese living abroad could not return home for the festival due to travel restrictions.
Remittances to the city are usually indicative of Vietnam’s total inflows and amount to 40-45 percent of them.
Remittances to Vietnam have been on an upward trend for the last two decades after starting at $1.3 billion in 2000. They were worth $15.7 billion last year, among the 10 highest in the world, according to World Bank figures.
Some 78,000 Vietnamese workers worked abroad last year, two times lower than in 2019, according to the Overseas Labor Department.
The Vietnamese diaspora too traditionally sends remittances to support families back home, though in recent times a lot is sent for doing business in Vietnam.
The rise in remittances pushed Vietnam into the world’s second highest rate in terms of cryptocurrency use, after Nigeria, according to a Statista survey, which said 21 percent of respondents in Vietnam said they used or owned cryptocurrencies in 2020 as the high cost of sending money across borders in conventional ways has caused many to turn to local cryptocurrency exchanges, catering to overseas workers and their families.