A drop in oil prices and weaker economic growth in Russia and Europe contributed to a 2.4% decline in global remittance volume to developing countries in 2016, according to new data from the World Bank. It was the second consecutive year remittances to emerging nations fell, while remittances to certain regions—including Latin America and the Caribbean—rose.

India, which continues to lead all countries in remittance inflows, saw overall volume decline about 9% last year, to $62.7 billion from $68.9 billion in 2015, the World Bank said in a recent report. Remittances to China fell nearly 5%, to $61 billion from $64 billion the previous year, while remittances to the Philippines held steady.

Remittances to Mexico rose in 2016 to $28.5 billion from $26 billion in 2015. Remittance volume to Pakistan stayed about the same between 2015 and 2016, but because of declines in remittances to France, Nigeria and Egypt, Pakistan moved up from No. 8 in overall global remittances to the No. 5 spot.

Chart: Top remittance destinations

Remittance volume varied significantly in different regions last year. Latin America and the Caribbean region saw record growth, with remittance volume rising 3.3% to $75 billion, according to the World Bank. But remittance volume in the South Asia region dropped by 6.4%.

Overall, global remittance volume to developing countries fell to $429 billion last year compared with $440 billion in 2015, while remittances to all countries shrank by 1.2%, to $575 billion from $582 billion in 2015, the World Bank said.

This year the World Bank expects to see a recovery in remittance volume, as the global economy improves, said Dilip Ratha, in an April 21 blog post. "We expect remittances to developing countries to grow by an estimated 3.3% to $444 billion in 2017," he said.

The global average cost of sending $200 remained flat at 7.45% through the first quarter of the year, Ratha added.

Subscribe Now

Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the payments industry

14-Day Free Trial

Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the industry