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March remittances of OFWs breached $2-B mark

MANILA, Philippines – Personal remittances from overseas Filipinos last March breached the P88.80-billion ($2-billion) mark last March, recovering from a slow growth in the previous months and marking the strongest performance in 15 months.

A statement released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed that remittances last month went up by 6.9% to P92.35 billion ($2.08 billion) from P88.36 billion ($1.99 billion) in the same month a year ago.

The remittances level in March also rebounded from below expected results in January and February at P88.36 billion ($1.99 billion) and P88.8 billion ($2 billion), respectively.

“This was the highest monthly growth registered in 15 months,” BSP governor Amando Tetangco Jr announced Friday, May 15.

Tetangco said growth in cumulative remittances for the first quarter of the year accelerated to 5.1% from 2.1% in the first two months of the year.

This brought the cumulative remittances level to P284.16 billion ($6.4 billion).

“The continued increase in personal remittances during the quarter was driven by robust inflows from both land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more (5.3%), as well as sea-based and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year (6.1%),” he added.

Cash remittances from overseas Filipinos coursed through banks increased by 11.3% year-on-year to P92.30 billion ($2.1 billion) in March 2015.

For the first 3 months of the year, BSP said cash remittances reached P257.52 billion ($5.8 billion), 5.5% higher than the level posted in the comparable period in 2014.

Meanwhile, BSP said cash remittances from land-based and sea-based workers expanded by 5.3% and 6.1%, respectively. 

Primary sources of cash remittances were the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, and Canada.

BSP said remittances remained strong partly on account of sustained demand for skilled Filipino manpower overseas.

Preliminary data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) indicated that approved job orders reached 243,045 for the first quarter of the year, of which 31.2% were intended mainly for service, production, and professional, technical and related workers in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Taiwan, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.

Likewise, the POEA reported that a total of 519,029 contracts were processed for last quarter.

“Similarly, the initiatives of banks and non-bank remittance service providers to expand their international and domestic market coverage through tie-ups abroad as well as the introduction of innovations in their remittance products continued to provide support to the steady flow of remittances,” the BSP said.

As of end-March this year, commercial banks’ established tie-ups, remittance centers, correspondent banks and branches/representative offices abroad reached 4,840 from 4,771 in the comparable period in 2014. – Rappler.com

$1 = P44.40