Remittances up 7.1% to $2.28B in July
Steady demand for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) kept cash remittances healthy, growing 7.1 percent year-on-year to $2.28 billion in July, the fastest increase in four months.
The latest Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas data released yesterday showed that cash sent home in July by Filipinos living and working abroad through banks rose from $2.13 billion in the same month last year.
The amount of cash remittances in July was actually the lowest in three months or since April’s $2.08 billion, although the growth was the fastest since March’s 10.7-percent year-on-year jump.
Cash remittances from land-based workers (at $1.8 billion) and from sea-based workers (at $500 million), posted 6.8 percent and 8.4 percent growth, respectively, compared to the levels reported a year ago at the start of the second half, BSP Deputy Governor and officer-in-change Diwa C. Guinigundo said in a statement.
The top contributors to cash remittance growth that month were the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Japan.
From January to July, cash remittances totaled $16.1 billion, up 5 percent from $15.32 billion a year ago.
During the first seven months, cash remittances from both land-based and sea-based workers summed up to $12.8 billion and $3.3 billion, respectively, according to Guinigundo.
Cash sent home by Filipinos in Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the UAE, the United Kingdom and the US combined accounted for four-fifths of the seven-month total.
According to Guinigundo, the sustained increase in overseas Filipinos’ remittances was supported by stable demand for skilled Filipino workers abroad.
Preliminary data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) showed that for the period January to July 2017, the total number of deployed OFWs reached 1,222,003, which was about 58 percent of the total number of OFWs deployed for the year 2016 at 2,112,331, Guinigundo noted.
Cash remittances were projected to hit a record $28 billion by year’s end.
The BSP had kept the 4-percent remittances growth target for 2017, although the value of the updated projection made in June was higher than the earlier forecast of $27.7 billion.
Last year, cash sent home by overseas Filipinos through banks reached a record-high $26.9 billion, 5-percent higher than 2015’s $25.6 billion.
Remittances are the country’s biggest source of foreign exchange income, insulating the domestic economy from external shocks by ensuring the steady supply of dollars in the system.
Also, these cash transfers are a major driver for domestic consumption, hence contributing to strong economic growth. —BEN O. DE VERA
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