June 17, 2019 at 08:50 pm
Julito G. Rada
Money sent home by Filipinos working overseas rose 4 percent in April to $2.44 billion from $2.347 billion a year ago, backed by remittances from both land-based and sea-based workers, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno said Monday.
“This growth was supported by remittances from land-based [$1.8 billion] and sea-based [$0.6 billion] workers, which rose by 2.2 percent and 10.6 percent, respectively,” Diokno said in a statement.
Te figure brought cash remittances in the first four months of 2019 to $9.7 billion, up 4.1 percent from $9.4 billion in the same period last year.
The United States posted the highest share of overall remittances for the January-to-April period at 35.9 percent, followed by Saudi Arabia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, UK, Japan, Canada, Hong Kong, Qatar, and Germany.
The combined remittances from these countries accounted for 78 percent of total cash remittances for the four-month period.
Also, personal remittances, which include non-cash items, rose 3.7 percent year on year to $2.7 billion from $2.6 billion a year ago. The figure brought personal remittances in the first four months to $10.8 billion, up 3.7 percent over $10.4 billion a year ago.
“The continued growth in personal remittances was driven by steady inflows from land-based OF workers with work contracts of one year or more, which aggregated to $8.2 billion from $8.1 billion in the same period last year,” Diokno said.
He said inflows from the compensation of sea-based workers and land-based workers with short-term contracts also contributed to the expansion and totaled $2.3 billion from $2.1 billion a year ago.
Cash remittances last year reached a record $28.9 billion, up 3.1 percent from $28.06 billion a year ago and slightly surpassed the 3-percent growth target for the entire year.
The Bangko Sentral said remittances in 2018 remained strong amid political uncertainties across the globe. This was evident in 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 came from the US, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Singapore, Japan, the UK, Qatar, Canada, Germany and Hong Kong. Cash remittances from these countries accounted for almost 79 percent of the total.
Personal remittances also posted a record-high of $32.2 billion in 2018, up 3 percent over the $31.28 billion a year ago.
The central bank expects remittances this year to post a conservative 3-percent expansion.