OFW remittances hit $2.11B in February
Cash sent home by Filipinos abroad last February increased at its fastest pace in eight months, growing 9.1 percent year-on-year to $2.11 billion amid steady job orders overseas, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said yesterday.
It was also the first time that cash remittances surpassed the $2-billion mark during the month of February as the previous high was $1.94 billion posted a year ago.
In the first two months of 2016, cash remitted through banks totaled $4.13 billion, up 6.2 percent from $3.89 billion during the same period last year.
In a statement, BSP deputy governor and officer in charge Diwa C. Guinigundo noted that cash transfers from land-based overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) grew 6.9 percent year-on-year to $3.2 billion in January-February. Cash remittances from sea-based OFWs, meanwhile, rose 3.7 percent to $917 million.
More than two-thirds of the February amount were remitted by Filipinos working in Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The steady deployment of OFWs remained a key driver to the growth of remittance inflows,î Guinigundo said.
Citing a preliminary Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) report, Guinigundo said 31.6 percent of the 160,277 job orders approved during the first two months were processed for professional, production, service and technical jobs in Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan and the UAE.
Cash remittances reached a record $25.77 billion last year, up 4.6 percent year-on-year.
For 2016, cash remittances are projected to grow 4 percent.
In a report last Wednesday, Moody’s Investors Service said the diverse destinations and jobs of Filipino migrant workers as well as the robust business process outsourcing (BPO) sector would mitigate the impact of cheap oil on remittances to the Philippines.
In a report titled Falling Remittances from the Gulf Dampen Benefits of Lower Oil Prices, the debt watcher noted that the Philippines sources remittances almost equally from oil-producing countries belonging to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the US.
Between 2010-2013, growth in the number of Filipinos migrating to the US has been far outpaced by those to the Middle East. But the proportion of remittance inflows from the US and GCC are nearly equal, at 34 percent and 31.7 percent, respectively the report pointed out.
It would also help that the relatively diverse occupations of [OFWs] should provide a buffer against an oil-related slowdown in remittances, Moody’s said.
Also, the BPO industry is a strong contender with remittances as a revenue generator in the country, it added.