Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) sent home $2.56 billion in July, with year on year growth of 8.7 percent the fastest pace seen in four months.
The personal remittances, however, were lower compared to June’s $2.75 billion and May’s $2.59 billion, data released on Friday by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed.
Year to date, remittances rose to $17.92 billion, up 5.9 percent from a year earlier.
“The steady growth in personal remittances drew support from the remittance inflows from land-based overseas Filipino workers with work contracts of one year or more, amounting $13.8 billion, and compensation of sea-based workers and land-based workers with short-term contracts (excluding their expenditures abroad), which reached $3.6 billion),” the central bank said in a statement.
Personal remittances sum up the net compensation of OFWs, personal transfers whether in cash or in kind, and also capital transfers between households.
Cash remittances, which only count money sent home via banks, totaled $2.28 billion in July, up 7.1 percent year-on-year but lower by 7.4 percent from June.
Year-to-date, cash remittances grew by 5 percent from the yearago period, reaching $16.09 billion.
“Cash remittances from land-based workers (at $1.8 billion) and from sea-based workers (at $0.5 billion), posted 6.8 percent and 8.4 percent growth, respectively, compared to the level reported a year ago,” the central bank noted.
The United States, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Japan were said to be the major contributors to the 7.1 percent cash remittance growth in July.
Most of the growth was attributed to the US, which accounted for 3.3 percentage points; the UAE, 1.1 percentage point; Singapore, 0.8 percentage point; and Japan, 0.6 percentage point.
Year-to-date, the bulk of cash remittances came from the US, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Singapore, Japan, the United Kingdom, Qatar, Kuwait, Germany and Hong Kong.
These countries accounted for almost 80 percent of total cash remittances in the first seven months of 2017, the BSP said.
“The sustained increase in OF remittances were supported by stable demand for skilled Filipino workers abroad,” it also said.
The Bangko Sentral noted that preliminary data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration showed the total number of deployed overseas Filipino workers at 1,222,003 as of end-July, about 58 percent of the 2016 deployment total of 2,112,331.
In a report, Moody’s Investors Service said remittances would continue to be a main driver of economic growth this year.
“Notwithstanding the one-off repatriation of workers from Saudi Arabia in April 2017, remittances from overseas Filipino workers have stabilized since mid-2016, which supports household consumption,” it said.