Remittance growth slow, but steady
Dollars sent home by expatriate Filipinos rose in April thanks to strong remittances from overseas workers with long term employment contracts, maintaining the slow but steady growth path that began last year, central bank data showed.
In a statement, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said personal remittances from Filipinos working or based abroad increased by 3.7 percent year-on-year to $2.7 billion in April 2019 from $2.6 billion in April 2018.
This brought total remittances for the first four months of 2019 to $10.8 billion, higher by 3.7 percent compared to the $10.4 billion posted in the same period last year, BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said.
“The continued growth in personal remittances during the first four months of 2019 was driven by steady remittance inflows from land-based overseas Filipino workers with work contracts of one year or more, which aggregated to $8.2 billion from $8.1 billion in the same period last year,” he said.
Meanwhile, cash remittances from abroad coursed through banks—which counts only wages sent home by expatriate workers, and excludes funds sent home by non-OFW Filipinos—in April 2019 amounted to $2.4 billion, up by 4 percent year-on-year from the $2.3 billion recorded in April 2018.
This growth was supported by remittances from both land- ($1.8 billion) and sea-based ($0.6 billion) workers, which rose by 2.2 percent and 10.6 percent, respectively.
Cash remittances at end-April reached $9.7 billion, higher by 4.1 percent compared to $9.4 billion in the same period last year.
By country source, the US registered the highest share of overall remittances for January to April 2019 at 35.9 percent. It was followed by Saudi Arabia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, the UK, Japan, Canada, Hong Kong, Qatar and Germany.
The combined remittances from these countries accounted for 78 percent of total cash remittances from January to April 2019.
The central bank noted, however, there were “some limitations” on the remittance data by source.
“A common practice of remittance centers in various cities abroad is to course remittances through correspondent banks, most of which are located in the US,” it explained. Remittances coursed through money couriers cannot be disaggregated by actual country source and are lodged under the country where the main offices are located, which, in many cases, is in the US.
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