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Remittances rose by 8% in January

By: Michelle V. Remo, March 15th, 2013 11:54 PM

Remittances maintained a robust pace of growth in January on the back of improving global economic conditions.

Money sent home by Filipinos working overseas amounted to $1.68 billion in the first month of 2013—up by 8 percent from the $1.56 billion recorded in the same period last year, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas yesterday reported.

“Remittances were sustained on account of steady demand for skilled and professional Filipino workers abroad, as well as the continued expansion of global market coverage of remittance service providers,” the BSP said in a statement.

The United States continued to be the biggest source of remittances, accounting for nearly 39 percent, or $653 million, of the total.

Other sources of remittances were: Canada, which accounted for 11 percent of the total; Saudi Arabia, 7.6 percent; the United Kingdom, 5.3 percent; the United Arab Emirates, 4.7 percent; Singapore, 3.9 percent; and Japan, 3.8 percent.

According to the BSP, remittances will continue to grow this year given the significant number of newly deployed Filipino workers abroad.

Citing data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Filipinos deployed for overseas employment last year to        taled 1,800,465—up by 6.7 percent from 1,687,831 the previous year.

In the first two months of the year, Filipinos deployed for jobs abroad reached 29,533. The jobs were mostly in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar and Taiwan.

The BSP projected that remittances in 2013 would grow by 5 percent to $22.46 billion, from last year’s $21.39 billion.

With over 10 million Filipinos based overseas, the Philippines is the now fourth biggest recipient of remittances next to China, India and Mexico.

A closely watched economic indicator, remittances largely fuel household consumption which, in turn, is a key driver of the Philippines’ gross domestic product.

Money sent home by migrant workers helped boosted the country’s foreign exchange reserves, which currently stand at about $84 billion.

Also, the huge inflow of remittances has been cited as a major factor behind the peso’s sharp rise against the US dollar.

Last year, the peso became the second fastest appreciating Asian currency against the greenback, next to the Korean won.

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