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Bangladesh weighs paying for infrastructure with remittances

Migrant workers build record foreign reserves, but IMF urges caution

Migrant workers, mostly from Bangladesh, line up to collect free masks and have their temperatures taken in Singapore in February.   © Reuters

DHAKA -- The novel coronavirus threatens to scupper Bangladesh's run of strong economic growth, which has averaged 7% over the past decade.

But Bangladesh has an overseas lifeline: In June, an estimated 12.5 million Bangladeshis, working in more than 170 countries, wired home a record $1.83 billion. That raised the country's foreign exchange reserves to an all-time high of $36.14 billion. Remittances, equal to almost 6% of gross domestic product, are a pillar of the Bangladeshi economy.

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