$23.8-B remittances in 2012 a record high
MANILA, Philippines - Personal remittances from Filipinos abroad reached US$23.8 billion in 2012, an all-time high.
The annual figure, which includes personal and capital transfers to the Philippines, translates to a 6.4% growth from 2011's total, exceeding the 5% growth target the government has set.
In a statement on Friday, February 15, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) attributed this to strong demand for workers in the Middle East and Asia, as well as improved bank network.
According to the BSP, the network of commercial banks' established tie-ups, remittance centers, corresponding banks and branches/representative offices abroad increased to 4,750 in December 2012 from 4,723 in December 2011.
The year also saw an 13.3% increase in the number of deployed land-based overseas Filipino workers (OFW) with at least a one-year contract, as well as 11.6% increase in land- and sea-based workers with short-term contracts.
"The strong remittance growth for 2012 supported the pickup of GDP to 6.6% from 3.9% in 2011. Coupled with remittances, the BSP also did what it could to boost domestic demand by lowering main policy rates by 100 asis in 2012," HSBC Philippines said in a statement.
Meanwhile, cash remittances, or the amount sent home via banks, reached $21.4 billion, a 6.3% increase.
Land-based workers remitted $16.6 billion, while sea-based ones sent home $4.8 billion.
Primary sources were:
- US - 42.6%
- Canada - 9.2%
- Saudi Arabia - 8.1%
- United Kingdom - 5%
- Japan - 4.7%
- United Arab Emirates - 4.5%
- Singapore - 4.1%
"The cash remittances represented about 6.5% of the Philippines' gross national income and 8.5% of gross domestic product," the BSP explained.
The GDP contribution for 2012 is slightly down from 9% in 2011.
Slower remittance growth
For the month of December, the value of cash remittances rose 9.7% to $2 billion, which translates to a 0.7% increase month-on-month.
This is slower than the 4% hike in November.
HSBC noted that the global recovery need to pick-up faster than expected so "inflows from overseas workers could also increase. We expect remittances to accelerate in 1Q 2013 thanks to a favorable base effect as well as steady demand for workers." - Rappler.com