Expat Filipinos' dollar remittances spiked to fastest pace in July, says central bank

MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - Dollars sent home to the Philippines by the country’s estimated 10 million expatriates — including an estimated five million Filipinos working with short- and long-term work contracts abroad — rose at their fastest pace in July this year, reversing the previous month's decline.

Dollars sent home to the Philippines by the country’s estimated 10 million expatriates — including an estimated five million Filipinos working with short- and long-term work contracts abroad — rose at their fastest pace in July this year, reversing the previous month's decline.

According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, personal remittances from overseas Filipinos totalled $2.9 billion in July 2019, 7.2 percent higher than the $2.7 billion recorded in the same month last year.

On a cumulative basis, personal remittances for the first seven months of the year increased by 3.6 percent to $19.1 billion from last years' level of $18.5 billion, BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said in a statement.

“The steady growth in personal remittances during the first seven months of 2019 drew support from the remittance inflows from land-based overseas Filipino workers with work contracts of one year or more, which aggregated to $14.6 billion from $14.2 billion in the same period last year,” he said.

Inflows from the compensation of sea-based workers and land-based workers with short-term contracts also contributed to this growth and totalled $4.1 billion from $3.8 billion a year ago.

Likewise, cash remittances coursed through banks — which counts only wages sent home by expatriate workers, and excludes funds sent home by non-OFW Filipinos — rose to $2.6 billion in July 2019, 7.5 percent higher than the $2.4 billion registered in July a year ago.

This brought cash remittances for the Jan-July 2019 period to $17.2 billion, 3.9 percent higher than the $16.6 billion recorded in the same period last year.

In particular, cash remittances from land-based and sea-based workers increased by 2.5 percent to $13.4 billion and 8.9 percent to $3.8 billion, respectively.

By country source, the US registered the highest share of overall remittances for January to July 2019 at 36.8 percent. It was followed by Saudi Arabia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, the UK, Japan, Canada, Hong Kong, Germany and Kuwait. The combined remittances from these countries accounted for 78.1 percent of total cash remittances from January to July 2019.

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