OFW remittances grow, hit $2.3B in February

STEADY FLOW. Despite concerns of potential job cuts in the Middle East and overall weak economic growth globally BSP data shows that OFW delopyment and their remittances flows have so far been unaffected.

MANILA, Philippines – Money sent home by overseas Filipinos (OFWs) continued to grow in 2016, rising by 9% compared to last year to reach $2.3 billion in February.

The result means that on a year-to-date basis, remittances for the first two months of the year increased by 6.1% to $4.6 billion from $4.3 billion recorded in the same period last year, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) officer-in-charge Diwa Guinigundo announced on Friday, April 15.  

The increase is mostly driven by the steady rise in transfers from land-based OFWs with long-term work contracts of (one year or more), which reached $3.5 billion. Sea and land-based workers with short-term contracts (excluding their expenditures abroad) chipped in with $1 billion.

Similarly, cash remittances from OFWs coursed through banks grew by 9.1% year-on-year to $2.1 billion in February.

For January-February 2016, cash remittances amounted to $4.1 billion, representing a growth of 6.2% from the $3.9 billion registered in the comparative period last year.

Cash transfers from both land-based ($3.2 billion) and sea-based ($917 million) workers rose by 6.9% and 3.7% year-on-year, respectively.

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

OFW deployment steady

Despite concerns about potential weak demand from the Middle East due to low oil prices, the BSP said that deployment of OFWs has been steady this year.

There are also signs that oil prices are beginning to stabilize with the Saudi-Arabia led Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) pointing out in its latest monthly report that prices rose more than 20% in March.

Preliminary reports from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) showed that 31.6% of the 160,277 total approved job orders in January-February 2016 were processed during the period.

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. – Rappler.com