A report released by Colombia’s Banco de la Republica shows that remittances sent by foreign banks to the Andean nation are down 17.7% for the first three months of 2010 compared with the same period in 2009.
In the period from January to March in 2009, the amount of remittances, or money sent by Colombian emigrants to people in their home country, added up to $1.095 billion, while the 2010 total for those three months dipped to $901.2 million.
The report explained the decline was due to a number of factors, including the increasing weakness of the Euro against the Colombian Peso, which affected the value of the remittances sent from countries like Spain, France, and Italy.
Also cited by the report was the increasing number of Colombian foreign workers who are returning home, thanks to a Spanish plan that offers legal immigrants without work an advance on their unemployment benefits if they return to their countries of origin for a period of several years while Spain weathers its recession.
The departments of Quindio and Caldas, in Colombia’s coffee region, have been hardest hit by the reduction in remittances. About a fifth of all remittances going to Colombia are sent to this region, which means an estimated $15 million decline in revenue for that part of the country alone.