• Oct remittances drop as dollar firms up

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    MONEY sent home by overseas Filipinos in October dropped from a year earlier and from September on stiff competition in the supply of seafarers and a strong dollar, central bank data released on Thursday showed.

    Personal remittances reached $2.32 billion in October, down 2.8 percent from $2.39 billion a year earlier. It was also down from $2.62 billion in September.

    Personal remittances are transfers in cash or in kind, as well as capital transfers between households.

    Remittances totaled $24.43 billion in the first 10 months of the year, up 3.9 percent from a year earlier. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) expects remittances to reach $26 billion for the whole of 2016.

    Cash remittances coursed through banks totaled $2.09 billion in October, down 3 percent from $2.16 billion in October 2015. In September, cash remittances totaled $2.38 billion.

    “Stiffer competition in the supply of seafarers, particularly from East Asia and Eastern Europe, has contributed to the declining trend in sea-based remittances,” the BSP explained.

    The countries that contributed to the decline in total cash remittances were Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Italy, Malaysia, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.

    “The lower US dollar value of remittances in October may also be partly due to the depreciation of major host countries’ currencies vis-a-vis the US dollar, such as the pound sterling and the euro,” it said.

    The BSP said remittances from the UK dropped 5.9 percent in October even as the volume of remittances in pound sterling increased by 16.5 percent.

    “The cases concerning Italy, Germany, Greece, and the Netherlands, however, are different, as remittances in both US dollar equivalent and original currency recorded declines in October,” it said.

    In the 10 months to October, cash remittances reached $22.12 billion, up 4 from $21.26 billion year-on-year, mostly from the United States, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Japan, Qatar, Kuwait, Hong Kong, and Germany.

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