MANILA, Philippines – Money sent home by millions of Filipinos working abroad reached $1.7 billion in March, a 5% growth from the same month last year, data from the central bank showed.
This month-on-month growth rate is the slowest since March 2011, when remittances grew at 4.1%.
The latest remittance data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), released on Tuesday, May 15, brings remittance figures from overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in the first quarter to US$4.6 billion, a 5.4% increase.
In a statement, the BSP attributed the continued growth in remittances to “sustained demand for Filipino manpower in various foreign labor markets,” as well as the “continued expansion of banks’ presence across the globe through tie-ups established by local financial institutions with foreign and local money transfer operators, mobile phone service operators and pawnshops.”
It cited preliminary data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) that showed 68,711 job orders from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emiraates, Qatar, Kuwait, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore, from January to April.
The top sources of remittances are as follows:
- Saudi Arabia
- United Kingdom
- United Arab Emirates
- Hong Kong
Remittances continue to fuel consumer spending, as well as investments in real estate. It accounts for about 10% of the Philippines’ overall economic growth.
Despite global economic woes in the west and geopolitical issues in the Middle East and North Africa, remittances to the Philippines remained resilient.