Personal remittances by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) fell slightly to $2.274 billion in August from the previous month’s level despite a 7.16 percent increase from a year earlier, central bank data shows.
Remittances slipped 0.44 percent from July’s $2.284 billion, although the August level was higher than the $2.122 billion posted in the comparative year-earlier period, according to data released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Wednesday.
Cumulative remittances in the eight months to August 2014 rose 6.47 percent to $17.232 billion from $16.185 billion in the corresponding period in 2013. Remittances for the seven months to July stood at $14.958 billion.
Personal remittances consist of the net compensation for land-based overseas workers with short-term (1 year or less) contracts and all sea-based workers; personal transfers in cash or in kind between overseas Filipinos or longer-term overseas workers and their families in the Philippines; and capital transfers between households, such as funds for home construction.
Cash remittances, or those coursed through banks, grew 5.93 percent year-on-year to $2.053 billion in August from $1.938 billion a year earlier.
For the eight-month period, funds coursed through banks increased to $15.538 billion, or 5.82 percent over the amount sent in the same period last year.
“The efficient network of bank and non-bank remittance channels established worldwide and their efforts to expand financial services to cater to the various needs of OFWs provided support to the inflow of remittances,” the BSP said in a statement released along with the figures.
The central bank noted that cash remittances during the period from land-based ($11.8 billion) and sea-based ($3.7 billion) workers rose 5.2 percent and 8 percent year-on-year, respectively.
The United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Japan, Canada, and Hong Kong were the major sources of the cash remittances for the eight-month period.
Citing the latest data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), for the first eight months of the year, the BSP said there were 619,388 approved overseas job orders.
Of the total job orders, 38.6 percent were processed intended for service, production, and professional, technical and related employment in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Taiwan, and Qatar.
In full-year 2013, personal remittances totaled $23.35 billion. This year, the BSP expects cash remittances to reach P24.1 billion, or 5 percent higher than the previous year’s level.
UK-based investment bank Barclays said the nearly 6 percent year-on-year remittance growth in August is in line with market expectations, but stronger than its 4.5 percent forecast for the month
In a report, Barclays said the stable and sustained growth in remittances should continue to support domestic consumption, the main growth driver of the Philippine economy.
“We maintain our 2014 GDP [gross domestic product]growth forecast at 6.5 percent,” it said.