OFW remittances rise to $2.2B in January 2016

OFW remittances rise to $2.2B in January 2016
Despite concerns in the Middle East, remittances remain resilient on the back of sustained demand, says the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas

MANILA, Philippines – Money sent home by Filipinos overseas increased at the start of the year despite global volatility and slowing economies in the Middle East.

Personal remittances by overseas Filipinos grew by 3.2% year-on-year in January 2016 to reach $2.2 billion, said Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando Tetangco Jr in a statement on Tuesday, March 15. 

These remittance flows consisted primarily of transfers from land-based overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) with work contracts of one year or more, amounting to $1.7 billion, as well as compensation of sea-based workers and land-based workers with short-term contracts (excluding their expenditures abroad), which reached $500 million.

Similarly, cash remittances channeled through banks amounted to $2 billion in January 2016, rising by 3.4% from the level posted a year ago.

Cash remittances from both land-based ($1.6 billion) and sea-based ($447 million) workers expanded by 3% and 4.6% year-on-year, respectively.

More than three-fourths of cash remittances came from the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Qatar, and Japan.

Remittances resilient

The BSP pointed out that remittance flows from OFWs remained resilient, underpinned by the sustained demand for skilled Filipino manpower overseas.

There has been concern in recent months of OFWs in the Middle East being downsized as a result of falling oil prices which have pulled down economies.

However, preliminary data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) shared by the BSP indicated that 30.5% of the 84,670 total approved job orders in January 2016 were processed during the period.

The processed job orders were intended mainly to fill in demand for service, production, and professional, technical and related workers in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Taiwan, and the United Arab Emirates.

The central bank added that the continued efforts of bank and non-bank remittance service providers to expand their international and domestic market coverage through their network of remittance business partners worldwide also helped enable steady remittances. – Rappler.com

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