Remittances grew by 5.4% in first quarter
Remittances to the Philippines again rose in March to $1.7 billion—up by 5 percent from the $1.62 billion reported in the same month last year, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
This brought total remittances for the first quarter to $4.84 billion—an increase of 5.4 percent from the $4.59 billion recorded in the same period last year.
“Robust cash transfers in the first quarter were supported by the sustained demand for Filipino manpower in various foreign labor markets,” the BSP said in a statement.
The biggest sources of remittances were the United States, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Germany, Italy and Hong Kong, the central bank said.
Monetary officials said that the move of Philippine banks to expand their remittance services abroad also encouraged overseas Filipinos to send money back more often.
According to the central bank’s projection, remittances for the entire year will hit $21.1 billion, or at least 5 percent more than the $20.1 billion registered in 2011.
According to BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr., the central bank projection remains viable, noting that remittances in the months ahead are expected to remain strong given the rising number of Filipino workers taking on jobs abroad.
Tetangco said the prolonged debt crisis in the eurozone and the sluggish performance of the United States economy would not lead to a contraction in remittances to the Philippines because demand for Filipino workers abroad remain significant.
Citing data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), the BSP said that from January to April this year 68,711 job orders for Filipino workers had been processed.
These new deployments will help increase remittances in the months ahead, the central bank said.
Most of the job orders were placed by employers from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore.
Remittances are a closely watched economic indicator. The cash sent in by workers abroad fuel household consumption, which is a key growth driver for the Philippine economy.
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