The Pew Research Center provides a fascinating interactive map on international remittances. The default is set for flows to and from the US, but you can reset to look at other countries. The underlying data are from the World Bank 2016 Bilateral Remittance Matrix. As an example, here is a static map for the Philippines. On the web site you can click on an individual country to find out how much goes from it to the Philippines. Saudi Arabia, for example, accounted for $3.5 billion and other Gulf states (especially the UAE) for another $6.0 bil. Any shock to that region would have an immediate impact.
For many countries remittances are modest. Not so the Philippines, where they account for about 10% of nominal GDP. From another direction, in 2016 exports were $43 bil, imports $78 bil for a goods trade balance of $35 bil. Add in a surplus in services of US$7 bil – lots of educated, English-speaking Filipinos make it sensible to locate call centers there – and the overall balance is $28 bil. So that entire amount can be financed by remittances without needing to borrow US$ from global financial markets. In a good year.
A post earlier this term (or maybe from last term’s class) highlighted Jamaica as another remittance economy. Are there others? – Mexico? India? Morocco? The data may be of low quality, but this is a reminder that developing economies are varied!
Here is a “live” map but it’s a bit klutzy – I can’t adjust the caption size.