Remittances up 7.3% in January
Foreign exchange sent back to the country by expatriate Filipinos rose in the first month of 2020 due mainly to an increase in the amount of dollars sent home by land-based workers, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
In a statement, the central bank said personal remittances—which cover financial resources sent home by expatriate Filipinos, regardless of purpose or source—grew by 7.3 percent year-on-year in January to $2.94 billion from $2.75 billion a year ago.
Specifically, personal remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of a year or more rose to $2.27 billion, representing a 7.4-percent increase from $2.12 billion in January last year.
The combined personal remittances from sea-based and land-based workers with work contracts of less than a year rose by 3.9 percent to $0.6 billion from $0.58 billion from a year ago, the central bank said.
Meanwhile, purely cash remittances from expatriate Filipinos coursed through banks amounted to $2.65 billion last January, up 6.6 percent from $2.48 billion in January 2019.
This increase was due to the higher remittances from both land-based ($2.1 billion) and sea-based ($0.55 billion) workers, which rose by 7.4 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively, the central bank said.
By country source, the United States had the highest share of overall remittances at 38.6 percent. It was followed by Japan, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Canada, Hong Kong and Korea.
The combined remittances from these countries accounted for almost 80 percent of total cash remittances.
The BSP noted that there were some limitations on the remittance data by source because a common practice of remittance centers in various cities abroad was to course remittances through correspondent banks, most of which are located in the United States.
Also, remittances coursed through money couriers could not 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 United States.
“Therefore, the US would appear to be the main source of overseas Filipino remittances because banks attribute the origin of funds to the most immediate source,” the central bank said. INQ
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