Remittances from overseas Filipinos bounced back in June from May and a year earlier, supported by continued demand for skilled workers, but official cumulative data for the six months to June shows slackening growth.
Personal remittances stood at $2.57 billion in June, up 4.8 percent from a year earlier, and were also higher
compared with the $2.41 billion recorded in May, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported on Monday.
Personal remittances are transfers in cash or in kind, as well as capital transfers between households.
In the six months to June, however, the rise in personal remittances slowed sharply to 3.1 percent from 9 percent in the comparable period of 2015.
Cumulative six-month remittances stood at $14.56 billion, up 3.1 percent from $14.13 billion a year earlier.
Cash remittances coursed through banks totaled $2.33 billion in June, higher by 4.8 percent than the $2.22 billion registered in June 2015. In May, cash remittances totaled $2.18 billion.
In the first six months of the year, the growth rate in cash remittances was also slower compared with 10.5 percent in January to June 2015.
Land-based workers provided the bulk of cash remittances at $10.4 billion, while $2.8 billion came from sea-based workers.
About 80 percent of cash remittances came from the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Japan, Qatar, Kuwait, Hong Kong, and Germany.
Land-based, sea-based workers
Personal remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more reached $11.3 billion, the BSP said.
Sea-based and short-term workers sent $3.1 billion in the first six months of the year.
“The continued demand for skilled Filipino workers abroad supported the steady remittance inflows,” the BSP said.
Preliminary data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) showed the number of workers deployed in the first half of the year reached 223,116 for land-based (new hires) and 93,600 for sea-based workers.
“The number of deployed land-based (new hires) workers increased by 0.9 percent year-on-year, while that of sea-based workers declined by 55.6 percent compared with the year-ago level,” the central bank said.
The top destinations were Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.
“The steady stream of remittances was supported by the efficient network of bank and non-bank remittance channels established worldwide to cater to the various needs of OFs,” the central bank noted.
As of end-June 2016, the BSP reported that there were 5,228 commercial banks’ tie-ups, remittance centers, correspondent banks, and branches/representative offices abroad.
For the whole of 2016, the BSP is forecasting cash remittance to grow by 4.0 percent to $26.8 billion. Cash remittances totaled $25.767 billion last year.