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Growth in remittances accelerated in March

Cash transfers hit $1.88B, up 6.5%, fastest this year, says BSP

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MANILA, Philippines—Cash transfers by migrants grew faster last March as demand for Filipino labor in advanced economies stayed strong, data released by the central bank showed Thursday.

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Growth in remittances from the country’s eight to 10 million overseas Filipino workers (OFW) was the fastest so far this year.

The United States remained the top source of remittances, followed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong.

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“Robust cash transfers in the first quarter of 2014 were supported by the sustained demand for skilled Filipino manpower,” the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said.

Cash remittances in March rose by 6.5 percent year-on-year to $1.88 billion.

The growth rate for the month was the fastest so far this year.

Last February, remittances rose by a slower 5.6 percent.

For the first quarter, cash transfers were up 6 percent to a total of $5.47 billion.

Remittances are the economy’s largest source of dollar income.

These cash transfers are also a major driver of domestic consumption.

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Preliminary data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) indicated that in January-March 2014, approved job orders totaled 239,022.

A quarter of these processed job orders were for workers in the service, production, and professional, technical sectors.

Money from sea-based workers grew at twice the pace of cash from land-based workers, the BSP said.

Remittances from seafarers grew by 10.9 percent in the first quarter.

Remittances from land-based workers were up 4.5 percent in the same period.

The BSP said the expansion of local banks’ reach overseas through partnerships with money transfer agents and foreign financial institutions contributed to the increase in cash sent to the Philippines.

As of end-March 2014, commercial banks’ established tie-ups, remittance centers, correspondent banks and branches or representative offices abroad reached 4,771 from 4,750 in the comparable period last year.

The government expects remittances to grow by 5 percent this year, slower than last year’s pace of 7.4 percent.

Originally posted at 4:22 pm | Thursday, May 15, 2014 

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TAGS: Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Business, economy, ofws, Remittance
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