OFW remittances rose 9.1% to $2.89B in Sept.
The country’s estimated 10 million expatriate citizens once more stepped in to buoy the local economy in the middle of a crisis after a late third-quarter surge in dollar remittances helped the country avoid the worst-case scenario earlier feared by the central bank.
In a statement, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said personal remittances from overseas Filipinos amounted to $2.89 billion in September 2020, which was higher by 9.1 percent than the $2.65 billion recorded in the same month last year.
This brought total personal remittances for the first nine months of 2020 to $24.3 billion. At this level, the contraction in cumulative remittances for the first nine months narrowed to 1.4 percent from 2.6 percent in August 2020.
“This is better than the original forecast of a 5-percent full-year decline,” BSP Gov. Benjamin Diokno said in a mobile phone message to reporters.
Personal remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of a year or more rose by 10.2 percent to $2.2 billion last September, higher than the $2 billion recorded in the same month last year.
Similarly, remittances from sea-based workers and land-based workers with work contracts of less than a year rose by 6.5 percent to $622 million in September 2020 from $584 million a year ago.
Likewise, overseas Filipino workers (OFW) cash remittances coursed through banks rose by 9.3 percent to $2.6 billion in September 2020 from $2.38 billion in September 2019.
This increase was due to the growth in remittances from both land- ($2.03 billion) and sea-based ($570 million) workers, which rose by 10.2 percent and 6.5 percent, respectively.
For the January-September 2020 period, overseas Filipino cash remittances amounted to $21.89 billion, a slight decrease of 1.4 percent from $22.19 billion in the comparative period last year.
By country source, cash remittances for the first nine months of 2020 from the United States, Singapore, Qatar, Hong Kong and Taiwan registered growth, while a decline was noted in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Germany, Kuwait and United Kingdom.
The US posted the highest share to total remittances at 40.1 percent, followed by Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Japan, UK, UAE, Canada, Hong Kong, Qatar and Taiwan. The combined remittances from these countries accounted for 78.8 percent of total cash remittances.
Regarding its data, the central bank cautioned that remittance centers in various cities abroad usually course remittances through correspondent banks, most of which are located in the United States. Similarly, 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 United States.
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