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Philippine remittances growth slows down in February

MANILA, Philippines – Money sent home through banks by overseas Filipinos increased by 4.5% last February, the slowest growth registered in 3 months, data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed.

BSP Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr announced on Monday, April 16, that cash remittances, or remittances formally channeled through banks, totaled $2.27 billion in February 2018, representing 4.5% year-on-year growth from February 2017.

Cash remittances from land-based workers and sea-based workers increased by 6.4% and 9.8%, respectively, according to BSP data.

These remittances mainly came from the United States, United Arab Emirates, Germany, and Malaysia. 

Remittances from the US and UAE each contributed 1.2 percentage points to the 4.5% overall cash remittances growth in February. (LOOK: Newly designed Philippine coins)

For the first two months of 2018, cash remittances totaled $4.6 billion, growing by 7.1% compared to the $4.3 billion posted in the same period in 2017.

Personal remittances

Meanwhile, personal remittances from overseas Filipinos grew by 5.4% to $2.53 billion in February 2018, from $2.39 billion in the same month a year ago.

These are cash and non-cash items that flow through both formal or via electronic wire and informal channels, like money or goods carried across borders.

Personal remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more totaled $4 billion, higher by 6.5% from the level recorded in February 2017, while those from sea-based and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year rose by 9.7% to $1 billion.

This brought the cumulative remittances for the first two months of the year to $5.2 billion, representing a year-on-year growth of 8.1% from the same period a year ago.

The central bank is targeting a 4% growth for personal and cash remittances in 2018. 

Money sent home by over 10 million overseas Filipinos is the 2nd largest source of foreign exchange for the Philippines – next to revenues from the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry. 

Remittances from overseas Filipinos also help fund the widening current account deficit of the country, which is due to strong importation of raw materials and capital equipment. – Rappler.com