MANILA, Philippines – Cash remittances coursed through banks by overseas Filipinos started the year strong, hitting $2.169 billion in January based on preliminary data released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Wednesday, March 15.
January's figure is 8.6% higher than the $1.997 billion seen in January 2016, although it is down from the $2.559 billion in December 2016.
It is important to note that December usually sees the highest amount of remittances in any given year due to the holiday season.
Last January, remittances of land-based workers totaled $1.8 billion, 13.5% higher compared to the level posted in the same month in 2016. Meanwhile, sea-based workers' remittances declined by 8.3% year-on-year, which the BSP attributed to stiffer competition in the supply of seafarers.
The bulk of cash remittances came from the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Qatar, Kuwait, Hong Kong, and Australia, which combined accounted for 79% of total cash remittances.
Remittances from the US grew by 9.2%, contributing 3.0 percentage points to the 8.6% overall growth.
Singapore, Qatar, and Japan's contributions, meanwhile, rose by 19.7%, 57.8%, and 16.0%, respectively, with a combined 3.8-percentage-point contribution to the total growth in cash remittances.
Overseas Filipinos' personal remittances also rose by 8.5% year-on-year in January to reach $2.396 billion.
The increase was mainly driven by a 13.5% growth in transfers from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more, which hit $1.9 billion.
This offset the 8.3% decline in remittances from sea-based and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year, which totaled $0.4 billion. – Rappler.com