Emigrants have brought to their relatives over 340 million euros in the first 6 months of the year, according to balance of payments data, made public by the Bank of Albania. This is the highest level recorded since 2012.
Compared to January-June a year ago, when the country was suffering the consequences of the pandemic and the closure of Europe, remittances increased by 25%. Compared to the corresponding normal period of 2019, the expansion is easier, by about 2.2%.
The main role in this trend in relation to the pre-crisis period was played by the first quarter. In January-March of this year, the money that emigrants sent to their relatives in Albania amounted to 169 million euros, the highest level since 2010, an increase of 12.5% compared to the first quarter of 2019. Market players claimed that one influencing factor was related to the fact that as a result of increased household spending to cope with the health consequences Covid-19 had, emigrants from abroad sent more support than usual in the first months of the year.
In the second quarter, remittances were 42% higher than the same period of the pandemic year (when as a result of the immediate closure of Europe the effect on remittances was high). But, they were down 10.7%, compared to April-June 2019.
Market operators claim that during the period of travel restrictions informal channels have increased, as the closure of borders has affected the orientation towards official operators. While in the third quarter of the year, with the increase in the number of flights, informal channels have increased again.
Since 2014, remittances had started the upward trend again, reflecting the new wave of emigration. They were easily affected in 2020 by the crisis caused by the pandemic, especially in the second quarter when Europe entered quarantine, but managed to recover quickly, with the gradual opening of economies.
Italy and Greece continue to be the main remittance channels in the country, due to the high number of migrants living and working in neighboring countries. But in recent years, inflows from new countries of emigration are also increasing, mainly the United Kingdom and especially Germany. Market players claim that Germany, due to the fact that it is in the typology of a country with new immigration, in recent years has been in constant growth.
The trend of remittances has followed a cyclical trend in the last three decades, culminating in 2008 and then began to decline, as more than a decade later, immigrants began to sever ties with their home country, start their own families and to send less money.
But in recent years, the country is experiencing a new wave of emigration, which brought again an increase in remittances, since 2013.