Remittances to Ukraine from citizens working abroad continue to rise and are expected to top $10bn this year, the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) said on June 21.
Ukraine currently has the lowest wages in Europe, according to government figures, and millions of Ukrainians have taken advantage of the visa-free regime introduced by the EU last June to go abroad to find work.
The wages they send home have roughly doubled every year since the economy collapsed in 2015, when it contracted by 15%. Ukrainian Gastarbeiters sent $3bn home in 2016, $7bn in 2017 and will send an estimated $10bn back this year, the NBU said, warning that the estimate will probably be adjusted upwards in a review in July, according to Serhiy Nikolaichuk, the director of the department of monetary policy and economic analysis of the central bank, Interfax reports.
"This year we expect an inflow of about $10bn, at the same time we assume that this forecast has to be revised," he said at a conference in Kyiv.
The remittances are a significant amount of money for the economy, and will cover the estimated $7bn trade deficit the country is expected to end 2018 with. It is also greater than the $8.5bn that Ukraine has received in total from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the last four years as part of a $17.5bn stand-by programme, or the $3bn the state raised with a Eurobond earlier this year.