Overseas remittances to Vietnam were estimated to total 10 billion USD last year, the highest figure for the last four years.

Most of the remittances were sent through banks, according to the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs, compared to previous years when a lot was exchanged on the black market. The committee reported that the remittance volume was up 10 percent on 2011.

Around 4.5 million Vietnamese, including more than 400,000 guest workers, are living in more than 100 countries and territories worldwide, with over 80 percent of them in developed nations.

The remittances sent home by Vietnamese guest workers from Japan, the Republic of Koreas, Malaysia, Taiwan and elsewhere in Asia have increased considerably, while these from Europe and the US have decreased, according to Maritime Bank’s foreign remittance department.

Vietnam plans to sent 90,000 people to work abroad this year, mainly to the RoK, Malaysia, Russia and Taiwa, according to the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs. Last year’s number was about 80,000.

The increase in oversea remittances is attributed to the renovation in money transfer to make transactions faster and easier.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Hoang Minh, deputy director of the State Bank’s HCM City branch, said normally the remittance volume sent to the city accounts for between 42-43 per of the country’s total.

About 4.1 billion USD in foreign remittances were sent to HCM City last year. Of this figure, 70 percent went into production and business, 23 percent into real estate and 6 percent to relatives.

A leader of a commercial bank in Hanoi said that in previous years, a large volume of remittance was sent to Vietnam through unofficial channels due to the high disparity in exchange rate between the banks and the free market.

However, with new policies and measures put in place last year to keep the exchange rate relatively stable, thus helping narrow the gap between commercial banks and the black market, most of the remittances sent to Vietnam last year were made through commercial banks. -VNA