Personal remittances sent by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) into the Philippines reached its all-time high of $2.3 billion in the month of October.
Data released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Monday showed that personal remittances from overseas Filipinos breached the $2-billion mark for the seventh consecutive month in October, representing an 8.8-percent year-on-year rise in personal remittances, the highest annualized monthly growth rate recorded in 2013.
For the first 10 months of the year, OFW remittances reached $20.5 billion, posting a growth of 6.8 percent from the year-ago level.
“Sustained demand for skilled and professional Filipino manpower overseas supported the steady rise in remittances for the first 10 months of the year,” the central bank stated.
Furthermore, the BSP attributed the sustained expansion in remittance flows to the 5.5-percent growth in transfers from land-based OFWs with work contracts of one year or more, whose remittances comprised about three-fourths of the total transfers from January to October 2013.
Remittances from both sea-based and land-based workers with short-term contracts recorded an expansion of 7.5 percent.
The central bank noted that cash remittances coursed through banks “grew robustly” by 7 percent year-on-year to reach a record-high level of $2.1 billion in October.
From January to October, remittances reached $18.5 billion, posting a growth of 6 percent, higher than the level registered in the same period in 2012.
Cash transfers from both land-based ($14.2 billion) and sea-based workers ($4.3 billion) grew by 5.5 percent and 7.5 percent, respectively.
The BSP data showed that the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Canada and Japan were the major sources of cash remittances.
On the other hand, a BSP survey showed that the remittances sent by OFWs to their families here in the Philippines were used for savings, investments and buying big-ticket items.
According to the latest Consumer Expectations Survey of the BSP, of the 490 households included in the survey that received OFW remittances in the fourth quarter of 2013, 96.1 percent used the remittances that they received to purchase food.
“OFW households that were included in the survey indicated that they used the remittances they received to purchase food, for education, medical payments and debt payments,” the central bank stated.
The survey added that the percentage of OFW households that utilized their remittances for savings rose to 41.6 percent while those that allocated their remittances for investment increased to 11.2 percent from 4.8 percent in the previous quarter, recording the highest percentage since 2007.
“Those that apportioned part of their remittances for the purchase of consumer durables, property and motor vehicles likewise went up compared to the previous quarter’s results,” it added.