Money sent home by Filipinos working overseas rose 5.7 percent to a five-month high of $2.6 billion in May from $2.46 billion a year ago, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno said Monday.
The amount brought total cash remittances in the first five months to $12.349 billion, up 4.5 percent from $11.8 billion in the same period last year.
“In particular, cash remittances from land-based and sea-based workers increased by 3.2 percent at $9.7 billion and 9.2 percent at $2.7 billion, respectively, during the first five months,” Diokno said in a statement.
The US registered the highest share of overall remittances in the five-month period at 36 percent. It was followed by Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, the UK, Japan, Canada, Hong Kong, Qatar, and Kuwait.
The combined remittances from these countries accounted for 78 percent of total cash remittances from January to May 2019.
Personal remittances which include non-cash items also increased 5.5 percent in May to $2.896 billion, also a five-month high, from $2.746 billion a year ago. This brought total personal remittances in the first five months to $13.707 billion, up 4.1 percent from $13.17 billion a year ago.
“The steady growth in personal remittances during the first five months drew support from the remittance inflows from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more which aggregated to $10.5 billion from $10.2 billion in the same period last year,” Diokno said.
Cash remittances reached a record $28.9 billion in 2018, up 3.1 percent from $28.06 billion in 2017. This also slightly surpassed the 3-percent growth target of the government for the entire year.
The BSP said remittances in 2018 remained strong despite the political uncertainties across the globe. This was evident in remittances from Asia, the Americas, and Europe which grew annually by 12.3 percent, 9.7 percent, and 7.7 percent, respectively.
The bulk of cash remittances last year also came from the US, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Singapore, Japan, the UK, Qatar, Canada, Germany, and Hong Kong.
Cash remittances from these countries accounted for almost 79 percent of the total.
The BSP expects remittances to grow by at least 3 percent in 2019.