Weak remittances from Saudi, Qatar dampen H1 dollar inflows from OFWs
Dollars sent home to the Philippines by the country’s estimated 10 million expatriates—including about five million Filipinos working with short- and long-term work contracts overseas—declined slightly in June, mimicking the weak performance of remittances in the same period last year.
According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, personal remittances from overseas Filipino workers in June alone dropped by 2.9 percent to $2.3 billion in 2019 from $2.4 billion in the same month in 2018.
“This was attributed to the 5.4 percent year-on-year drop in cash remittances from land-based workers, which was mitigated by the 6.3-percent increase in transfers from sea-based workers,” the BSP said.
In particular, the countries that contributed to the decline in June 2019 were Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
On a cumulative basis, however, remittances continued to rise, albeit at a muted pace.
BSP data showed that personal remittances reach $16.3 billion in the first half of 2019, up 2.9 percent from $15.8 billion in the same period last year.
Personal remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more grew by 1.8 percent to $12.4 billion in the first half of 2019 from $12.2 billion a year ago.
Similarly, personal remittances from sea-based workers and land-based workers with short-term contracts rose by 8.8 percent to $3.5 billion in the first semester from $3.2 billion in the same period last year.
However, on a monthly basis, personal remittances in June 2019 went down by 2.7 percent to $2.5 billion from $2.6 billion in the same month in 2018.
For January to June 2019, cash remittances from overseas Filipinos coursed through banks grew by 3.2 percent to $14.6 billion from $14.2 billion in the same period last year.
Cash remittances sent by land-based workers rose by 1.8 percent year-on-year to $11.4 billion, and transfers from sea-based workers grew by 8.7 percent to $3.2 billion.
By country source, the US registered the highest share of overall remittances from January to June 2019 at 36.4 percent. It was followed by Saudi Arabia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Hong Kong, Germany and Qatar.
The combined remittances from these countries accounted for 78 percent of the total in the first six months.
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