November 16, 2015 at 11:40 pm
Julito G. Rada
Money sent home by Filipinos working overseas rebounded with a 4.3 percent growth in September, after falling for the first time in 12 years in August, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said Monday.
Data from Bangko Sentral showed remittances reached $2.2 billion in September, up from $2 billion in August and $2.1 billion a year ago.
The figure reversed the 0.6-percent contraction registered in August, the first in 12 years, easing concerns over the impact of slowing remittance flows on the economy. Remittances account for about a tenth of the gross domestic product and support various segments of the economy.
Remittances play a crucial role in the balance of payments and help stabilize the foreign exchange rate. The peso closed at 47.14 against the US dollar Monday, down by 0.2 percent from 47.05 on Friday. The peso depreciated by around 5 percent since the start of the year.
Data showed that cash remittances reached $18.4 billion in the first nine months, or 4.1 percent higher than $17.68 billion recorded in the same period last year.
“Cash remittances from land-based and sea-based workers grew by 4.4 percent [to $14.1 billion] and 3.3 percent [to $4.3 billion], respectively. The bulk of cash remittances came from the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Japan, Hong Kong, and Canada,” Bangko Sentral said in a statement.
Personal remittances, which include non-cash items, also expanded by 4.3 percent in September to $2.434 billion from $2.33 billion in the same period last year. This brought personal remittances in the first nine months to $20.36 billion, up 3.9 percent from $19.6 billion a year ago.
“For the nine-month period, personal remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more rose by 4.3 percent while those from sea-based and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year grew by 3.3 percent,” Bangko Sentral said.
Preliminary reports from Philippine Overseas Employment Administration showed that total job orders reached 663,112 in the nine-month period. About 41.6 percent of the job orders have been processed.
These job orders were intended mainly for service, production and professional, technical and related workers needed in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Bangko Sentral said the initiatives of banks and non-bank remittance service providers to
expand their international and domestic market coverage through tie-ups abroad as well as the introduction of innovations in their remittance products also supported the steady inflow of remittances.
Bangko Sentral expects a 5-percent growth in remittances this year. Cash remittances from 10.2 million Filipinos abroad hit $24.3 billion in 2014.
About 60 percent of Filipinos abroad are migrants while the remaining 40 percent are on job contracts.