Personal remittances from Filipino overseas rose to a record high of $28.483 billion last year, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported on Friday.
The result broke the previous high of $27.273 billion posted in 2014. The central bank said that and last year’s tallies were “revised to reflect amended reports submitted by banks.”
Personal remittances—representing overseas Filipinos’ earnings, personal transfers in cash or in kind and capital transfers between households—grew by 4.4 percent last year, exceeding the central bank’s 4-percent target.
The amount sent home in December alone reached the highest monthly level to date at $2.726 billion, a 4.9-percent year-on-year increase from the revised $2.599 billion recorded a year earlier.
“Remittances continued to be a major driver of domestic demand. The 2015 level represented 9.8 percent of gross domestic product and 8.1 percent of gross national income,” central bank Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said.
The central bank attributed the expansion in remittance flows to a 4.4-percent increase in fund transfers made by land-based overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) with contracts of one year or more.
Remittances from both sea-based and land-based workers with short-term contracts, meanwhile, posted a 5.3-percent increase.
Central bank data also showed that cash remittances coursed through banks grew by 4.6 percent to $25.767 billion in 2015 from the revised $24.628 billion posted in 2014.
In December, cash remittances reached $2.470 billion, up 4.9 percent from the revised $2.354 billion seen a year earlier.
For the full year, cash transfers from land-based Filipino workers stood at $20 billion and from sea-based workers at $5.8 billion.
“The continued deployment of skilled overseas Filipinos remained a key factor to the growth in remittance inflows,” the central bank said.
It said preliminary data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) indicated that the number of OFWs reached 1.8 million last year.
POEA data also showed 835,247 job orders had been approved last year. Of these, 45 percent were intended for service, production, and professional, technical and related positions in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.
“The increased presence of banks abroad and the introduction of new products and services for the benefits of overseas Filipinos continued to facilitate the channeling of remittances to the formal channels,” the central bank said.
It also said the number of bank tie-ups, remittance centers, correspondent banks, and branches/representative offices abroad reached 5,424 last year, higher by 13.8 percent compared to the end-2014 level.