Defying expectations: OFW remittances grow 9.1% in September 2020

Overseas Filipino remittances grew 9.1% to $2.89 billion in September from $2.65 billion in the same month last year, beating expectations.

The contraction in cumulative personal remittances for the first 9 months narrowed to 1.4% from 2.6% in August.

Cash remittances coursed through banks rose 9.3%.

By country source, cash remittances for January to September saw growth from the United States, Singapore, Qatar, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

Declines were noted in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Germany, Kuwait, and the United Kingdom.

Despite the sharp swings, ING Bank Manila senior economist Nicholas Mapa still sees a 5% dip in remittances for 2020, "given the large number of migrants losing their jobs in host countries."

More than 254,000 overseas Filipinos have been repatriated due to the coronavirus pandemic since February, based on data from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

The DFA estimated that 90,000 more Filipinos will be repatriated before the end of the year.

"We've also noted that some overseas Filipinos set for repatriation are likely to send their entire life savings home ahead of their return, which may have caused a one-off surge in remittances in the past few months," Mapa said. –

Ralf Rivas

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