Growth in remittances slowed in April
MANILA, Philippines — Remittance flows from Filipinos abroad last April grew at its slowest pace so far this 2014, even as the demand for skilled Filipino workers in overseas job markets remained robust, data released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Monday showed.
Personal remittances went up 5.2 percent to $2.124 billion in April from $2.019 billion in the same month in 2013, albeit the slowest growth thus far compared with January’s 6.8-percent growth, February’s 6.0 percent and March’s 6.9 percent.
As of the end of April, personal remittances hit $8.209 billion, up 6.2 percent from $7.728 billion in the same four-month period last year.
According to the BSP, the “sustained growth” in personal remittances during the first four months can be attributed “mainly to the steady increase in remittance flows from both land-based workers with long-term contracts [as well as] sea-based and land-based workers with short term contacts,” which increased 5 percent and 8.3 percent, respectively.
Cash remittances coursed through banks, meanwhile, rose 5.2 percent to $1.914 billion in April from $1.819 billion in the same month last year, but was also the slowest month compared with the 5.9-percent growth in January, 5.6-percent expansion in February and March’s 6.5-percent uptick.
In the January to April period, cash transfers totaled $7.392 million, up 5.8 percent from $6.986 billion in the first four months of last year.
During the four-month period, cash remittances from land-based workers increased by 5 percent to $5.6 billion, while those of sea-based workers rose at a faster 8.3 percent to $1.8 billion, the BSP said.
“Remittance flows remained robust on the back of sustained demand for skilled Filipino workers,” the BSP said in a statement, citing preliminary Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) data showing that the approved job orders from January to April reached 319,888, up from 239,022 at the end of March.
Almost a fourth of the job orders processed during the first four months were intended for service, production, professional and technical employees in Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the BSP said.
The top sources of cash remittances at the end of April were the United States, Saudi Arabia, UAE, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong.
“The continued expansion of the network of banks and non-bank service providers and innovations in financial products in the remittance market have likewise provided for the wider capture of fund transfers through formal channels, facilitating the increased inflows of cash remittances,” the BSP said.
The government had projected that remittances—the economy’s biggest source of dollar income as well as a major driver of domestic consumption—to increase by 5 percent by yearend, slower than last year’s 7.4 percent growth.
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