Remittances hit $11 billion in January-April 2021, beating pre-pandemic level

Remittances in the first four months of 2021 were higher than the level registered in 2019 or before the coronavirus pandemic, latest figures of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed on Tuesday, June 15.

Remittances of overseas Filipinos (OFs) in January to April 2021 reached $11 billion, 5.1% higher than the $10.49 billion recorded in the same period in 2020 and slightly higher than the $10.8 billion posted in the first four months of 2019.

In April 2021 alone, personal remittances rose 13.1% to $2.57 billion, marking growth for the third consecutive month, as lockdowns eased globally. However, this growth is due to base effects, as remittances fell 16.1% in April 2020.

Cash remittances from OFs coursed through banks rose by 12.7% to $2.305 billion in April 2021. On a year-to-date basis, cash remittances for January to April 2021 reached $9.898 billion, higher by 4.8%.

Growth in cash remittances came largely from the United States, Malaysia, Singapore, and South Korea.  

Despite mass layoffs worldwide, repatriations, and lockdowns, remittances fell by only 0.8% in 2020, defying gloomy expectations of economists.

The BSP is projecting a 4% growth in remittances in 2021. –

Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.