Washington, DC (BBN) – Remittance flows to developing countries are likely to come down to US$304 billion in 2009 from $328 billion of the previous year, the World Bank said on Monday.

The predicted decline in remittances by 7.3 percent this year is far smaller than that for private flows to developing countries, according to the World Bank.

“Remittances are relatively resilient because, while new migration flows have declined, the number of migrants living overseas has been relatively unaffected by the crisis,” the World Bank said in a press statement.

The World Bank, however, said sources of risk to the outlook include uncertainty about the depth and duration of the current crisis, unpredictable movements in exchange rates, and the possibility that immigration controls may be tightened further in major destination countries.

Remittance flows to Latin America have been falling in large part because of a slowdown in the U.S. construction sector, the statement added.

The new forecasts show a 6.9 percent decline in remittances for the Latin America and Caribbean region, it said, adding that Sub-Saharan Africa is also likely to experience an 8.3 percent slowdown in its remittance flows.

“However, flows to South Asia and East Asia have been strong; but remittances are expected to decline somewhat in 2009,” the World Bank noted.

India, China and Mexico retain their position as the top recipients of migrant remittances among developing countries.

Smaller economies such as Tajikistan, Moldova, Tonga, Lesotho, and Guyana are the top recipients in terms of the share of remittances in GDP; which exceeded a quarter of their gross domestic product (GDP).

BBN/SS/SI/AD-15July09-4:24 am (BST)