Cost of Sending Remittances Down
The cost of sending remittances from the United States to Lebanon reached 11.83% in the first quarter of 2012 for a $200 transfer,
constituting a decrease from 14% in the third quarter of 2011 and from 12.6% in the first quarter of 2011, figures issued by the World Bank show.
Also, the cost of sending $500 from the U.S. to Lebanon reached 5.25% in the first quarter of 2012, down from 6.51% in the third quarter of 2011 and 5.53% in the first quarter of 2011, as reported by Lebanon This Week, Byblos Bank economc publication.
The cost includes the transaction fee and exchange rate margin, and represents the average cost of transferring money through commercial banks and money trans- fer operators (MTOs).
Also, the cost of sending remittances from Germany to Lebanon reached 17.1% in the in the first quarter of 2012 for a transfer of €140, or about $200, consti- tuting an increase from 14.8% the third quarter of last year and from 13.5% in the first quarter of 2011. Also, the cost of sending €345, or about $500, from Germany to Lebanon reached 8.84% in the first quarter of 2012 compared to 8.1% in the third quarter of 2011 and to 6.9% in the first quarter of last year. In nominal terms, the cost of sending €140 and €345 from Germany to Lebanon costs quarter of 2010.
In parallel, Lebanon ranked as the second most expensive destination for sending $200 from the U.S. among 27 countries with avail- able data after Thailand (12.7%). It was the 10th most expensive for sending $500. The data covered 12 countries in Latin & Central America, seven countries in East and Southeast Asia, three countries in the Caribbean, and four countries in Africa, in addition to Lebanon in the Middle East. The United States is the sixth largest source of inward electronic cash transfers to Lebanon.
The World Bank indicated that the average cost to send $500 in remittances through commercial banks to Lebanon was 6% and the average cost through MTOs was 4% in the first quarter of 2012. In comparison, the average cost to send remittances through commer- cial banks to Lebanon was 7.1% and the average cost through MTOs was 5.4% in the third quarter of 2011; while it was 6.7% and
3.7%, respectively, in the first quarter of last year. MTOs account for about 70% of all cash electronic transactions to Lebanon, fol- lowed by money dealers with 22.4% and commercial banks with 7.5%.
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