ISLAMABAD - Foreign remittances sent by overseas Pakistanis have increased 13 percent to 5.4 billion US dollars in the first quarter of the 2018-2019 fiscal year (July 1-June 30) from the previous year, according to figures released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Thursday.

The SBP reported that overseas Pakistani workers remitted 5.419 billion dollars during the period from July 2017 to September 2018, up 629 million dollars.

Inflows from Saudi Arabia were the largest source of remittances. They amounted to 1.263 billion dollars in the first three months of the current fiscal year, up 2.9 percent as compared to 1.228 billion dollars in the corresponding period of last fiscal year. The highest rise in remittances was seen from Britain, which climbed 32.3 percent to 828.4 million dollars against 626 million dollars in the same period of last fiscal year.

During the period under review, inflows from the United States rose to 759.4 million dollars, depicting an increase of 18 percent. Among the three major corridors of home remittances, Saudi Arabia is still the largest contributor to remittances inflows into Pakistan, despite lower growth compared to Britain and the United States.

Local economists believed that the rise in remittances in the first three months of current fiscal year is a positive sign for the incumbent government as it can play a key role in reducing the country's current account deficit.