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OFW remittances hit $2.7 billion in March 2016

USUAL SOURCES. The US, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Singapore, Hong Kong, UK, Japan, Qatar, and Kuwait contributed more than three-fourths of cash remittances for the first 3 months of the year.

MANILA, Philippines – Personal remittances by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) reached $2.7 billion in March 2016, 1.4% higher than in March 2015, said Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando Tetangco Jr in a statement on Monday, May 16.

March cash remittances from OFWs channeled through banks amounted to $2.4 billion, a growth of 1.5% year-on-year.

The March result means that despite worries about a slump at the onset of 2016, OFW remittances still hit $7.2 billion in the first quarter of 2016, higher by 4.3% compared to the first quarter of last year, the BSP said.

It noted that land-based OFWs with work contracts of one year or more contributed $5.6 billion, while sea-based workers and land-based workers with short-term contracts (excluding their expenditures abroad) chipped in $1.6 billion.

On a cumulative basis, cash remittances for the first quarter rose to $6.6 billion, 4.4% higher than the level recorded in the comparable period in 2015. Cash remittances from both land-based ($5.1 billion) and sea-based workers ($1.4 billion) grew by 5.3% and 1.5% year-on-year, respectively.

Steady demand

The BSP said steady demand for OFWs remained a key driver to the growth of remittance inflows. A preliminary report from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) indicated that total processed contracts reached 2.3 million in 2015, of which 1.2 million were deployed in the same year.

In the first quarter of 2016, a total of 585,688 contracts were processed, with 452,722 of these for land-based workers.

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

The central bank also highlighted the initiatives of banks and non-bank remittance service providers to expand their coverage through tie-ups abroad as well as innovations.

As of end-March 2016, the BSP said that commercial banks' established tie-ups, remittance centers, correspondent banks, and branches/representative offices abroad reached 5,524 from 4,840 in the same period last year. – Rappler.com

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