WB: Low fees to help raise migrant Filipinos’ remittances in 2021
MANILA, Philippines—The World Bank expects money being sent back home by Filipinos working and living overseas to grow by 3.8 percent to $36.2 billion in 2021, buoyed by low remittance fees from countries hosting many migrant workers.
In its latest migration and development brief, the Washington-based multilateral lender estimated remittance flows to the Philippines this year to rank fourth after India’s $87 billion, and China and Mexico’s $53 billion.
The World Bank said this year’s projected remittances would reverse the 0.7-percent decline last year when thousands of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) returned home due to pandemic-induced job losses globally.
“The sharp fall in remittances from the GCC observed in 2020 (11.2 percent) appears to be recovering, with an increase of 0.7 percent observed during the first eight months of the year,” the World Bank said, referring to the oil-rich Gulf Cooperation Council countries in the Middle East.
“Higher oil prices enabled stronger remittance payments from expatriate workers among the GCC economies, and the dramatic spread of COVID-19 yielded additional financial support from the diaspora,” the World Bank said.
Remittances from the United States, which remained the Philippines’ top source accounting for nearly two-fifths of last year’s total, were also “resilient” as inflows rose 7 percent year-on-year as of end-August, the World Bank noted.
Across the East Asia and Pacific region, remittance costs went down to 6.7 percent during the first quarter of 2021 from 6.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020, the World Bank said.
The Philippines benefited from the lowest remittance fees worldwide, with cash transfers from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) ranked by the World Bank among the five least expensive corridors in the region.
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