Remittances slump in May as pandemic hits OFW jobs
Dollars sent to the Philippines by the country’s large expatriate workforce declined by nearly a fifth in May as more Filipinos lost their jobs overseas due to the global economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic, according to the central bank.
In a statement, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said that personal remittances from overseas Filipinos amounted to $2.34 billion last May— 19.2-percent lower than the $2.9 billion recorded in the same period last year.
“This is the third consecutive month that personal remittances posted year-on-year contraction amid the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on global economic activity, travel and employment, resulting in the repatriation or deferment of employment of many overseas Filipino workers,” the central bank said.
This brought the total remittances for the first five months of 2020 to $12.84 billion, representing a decrease of 6.4 percent from the $13.71 billion recorded in the comparable period in 2019.
Personal remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more declined to $1.77 billion in May 2020, 21.1-percent lower than the $2.24 billion recorded in May 2019.
Similarly, remittances from sea-based workers and land-based workers with work contracts of less than a year fell by 12.4 percent to $519 million in May 2020 from $592 million a year ago.
Overseas Filipino cash remittances coursed through banks dropped by 19.3 percent to $2.11 billion last May from $2.61 billion in May 2019.
“The decline in cash remittances was due to the negative effects of the continued limited operating hours of some banks and institutions that provide money transfer services during the lockdown and the repatriation of many overseas Filipino workers in March 2020,” the central bank said.
For the January–May 2020 period, cash remittances amounted to $11.55 billion, 6.4-percent lower than the $12.35 billion registered in the comparative period last year. This developed as remittances of both land- and sea-based workers fell by 7.2 percent to $8.96 billion from $9.66 billion and 3.6 percent to $2.59 billion from $2.68 billion, respectively.
By country source, the United States registered the highest share to total overseas Filipino remittances at 39.4 percent for January to May 2020. It was followed by Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Japan, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Hongkong, Qatar and Taiwan. The combined remittances from these countries accounted for 78.8 percent of total cash remittances. INQ
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