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Remittances grew slowly in March

Amount of cash sent in rose by 5.6% in 1st quarter

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Filipino domestic helpers line up to send money at a remittance center in the central district of Hong Kong in this 2008 file photo. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas on Wednesday, May 15, 2013, reported that remittances reached $1.75 billion in March, up 3 percent from the $1.7 billion posted in the same month last year. The growth rate was the slowest since September 2009, BSP data showed. AFP/TED ALJIBE

The rate of rise in remittances registered its slowest pace in three and a half years amid the challenges now facing the global economy.

According to analysts, the slowdown in March is a reminder that remittances may eventually reach a plateau over the medium term due to a host of factors, such as the number of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) now approaching critical mass, the continuing problems of most advanced economies, and the rise in the number of jobs being generated in the country brought on by improving business sentiment.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas on Wednesday reported that remittances reached $1.75 billion in March, up 3 percent from the $1.7 billion posted in the same month last year. The growth rate was the slowest since September 2009, BSP data showed.

Cumulative remittances in the first quarter amounted to $5.11 billion, up 5.6 percent from the $4.84 billion of the same period last year.

The biggest sources of remittances were the United States, Canada, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Japan.

“The deceleration in the growth rate of remittances in March may … continue. This is because [the Philippines] may be reaching the limit of [its] ability to supply labor to the overseas market,” Ernesto Pernia, economics professor from the University of the Philippines, told the Inquirer.

Pernia echoed most economists’ sentiment that the Philippines should start looking for other sources of dollars to keep its gross international reserves (GIR) healthy.

Currently, remittances and foreign investments in the business process outsourcing sector are the main drivers of the GIR. Pernia said the country should fully develop its tourism industry, and implement measures that would attract foreign direct investments in key sectors.

“The country [must] realize that continuing to rely on remittances would be imprudent,” Pernia said, warning that the slowdown should serve as a wake-up call. Also, the Philippines needs the manpower to boost the manufacturing sector.

According to estimates, there are over 10 million Filipinos based overseas.

The BSP said the number of OFWs may rise further in the months ahead. It cited a report from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration where overseas job orders reached 292,483 in the first four months of the year. The job orders came mostly from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Hong Kong and Kuwait.


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Tags: economy , overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) , Philippines , Remittances

  • Azniro Onaici

    The CNN and
    BBC news-flash that was broadcasted to the whole world had added more despair
    to us many of the million of OFWs around the world. It was disgusting as it
    brought more sorrows to our hearts. It was so cruel to bear that as if there is
    no more hope no matter how difficult our conditions are as we work so hard six
    days a week for those who are left behind us, and this is compounded with the
    fact that we are far away from our loved ones back home.

    Among the
    intellectual Diasporas, those Filipinos who are scattered around the world and
    even those non-Filipino nationals around the world who are following current
    events brought about by the CNN and BBC to the whole world to watch, which is relevant
    to the poverty stricken Filipino families who are dwelling in filthy places of
    Manila and in other satellite cities of the capital have questions intended to
    be pondered and answered by anyone. Is
    the incumbent government administration answerable for the mistake of many past
    administrations? Who are behind such demolition critiques of the incumbent
    President of the Philippines? Common sense tells us that we cannot expect a
    person to say I am sorry for the mistakes of others he did not commit, but
    doing his best to apply corrective action. I for one will not say I am sorry
    for the mistakes of others I did not commit; nay not even for a minute; do we? This
    Aquino administration for the first time in our history is doing the best ever
    so much to correct those mistakes of the many past administrations, and while
    doing this, he is confronted by obstacles being done by people who are the
    left-over of the many past administrations, and in fact clinging like leaches
    in the government administration that guides the destiny of this nation. They are responsible for what the Philippines
    is being presented to the whole world today! Ironically those people who are
    lamenting about the state of the poorest of the poor in the Philippines are
    remnants of the many past government administrations and living like leaches in
    the hall of congress. These are the kind of people who are thirsty of powers
    that they want their children and grand children to take over their powerful
    positions after they disappear on the face of the earth; and how? Of course
    through election in order to make it appear that it is constitutional. As for
    many analysts and/or sociologists, it is not only about our constitution
    because what is written in the constitution is blatantly not followed. Those in
    power who are eternally hungry to stay in power have only one strategy to keep
    them in the highest status of society. They want to see that the people remain
    poor with half baked education. This is why they do their best to put enmity
    between those who are for the passage of the so called K-12 educational system
    which the President has just signed into law and the pseudo powerful. Certainly
    there is modern Sanhedrin operating in our hall of congress supported by the
    modern Pharisees who are happy to see our poorest families dwelling in the
    streets of Manila and other cities of the whole country. These are the people
    who represent God on earth in the wrong way like the Pharisees and Sanhedrin who
    were interpreting the Laws of Moses during the times of Christ Jesus. But make
    no mistake, many are die-hard Catholic Christians and they have no intention to
    leave their faith because they know their faith. They are staunchly supporting
    the program of this incumbent President. The result of the mid-term election
    shows that many of the electorates or the voting public is in agreement with
    this Aquino administration. Those who are against his programs are those who
    are HAPPY to see our poor people living in shanty places as they contribute
    such disgusting eye-sours-Manila-scenes to the CNN and the BBC; certainly this
    might include those religious people as well.

  • 1voxPopuli

    this news is either good or bad. the bad news is less remittance means local consumer spending could be lesser as well as lower reserves but on the other hand it could be that more OFWs are going home to invest or to work locally instead.

    i hope we can get stats of how many OFW had gone home and invest/work locally.

  • brentcom

    (no connection with the issue) Miss michelle, if am not mistaken, the image was used in the last issue of foreign remittance. now u are using again. pwede ba mag-research ka naman or lumabas ka wag yung copy paste. nakakaasar parang tingin ko sa iyo tamad

    • http://twitter.com/endurex endurex

      There’s nothing wrong with re-using a picture.

  • wawa2172

    Bababa pa ang remittance because the Taiwanese government is now technically at war with our country when a Taieanese fisherman was killed by PCG when it trespass in the Phlippine seas. Sanctions are now being implemented by Taiwan in hiring of workers. education, etc. Well, marami na namang masasagasaan nito but that’s life.

    • CmdrAdobo

      Who cares with arrogant Taiwan?

    • etomacq

      According to the gov’t. the Philippines is now the new tiger of Asia.

      We also heard from the gov’t. inviting the OFWs to return home because according to them our economy is already improving. So no need to panic.

      If indeed the Philippine economy is improving and we are now the new tiger of Asia then the OFWs should come home and enjoy life in the Philippines.

    • Chrisnadal19

      TW share with the OFW market is insignificant. Even if every OFW will be deported which I doubt, it will not make a dent on the overall remittance figures.



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