OFW June remittances hit 6-month high

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PERSONAL remittances by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) hit a six-month high in June, rising by 7 percent from a year earlier as demand for skilled Filipino workers abroad continues, the central bank said.

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Up from the 5.5 percent recorded in May this year, the June figure was also the highest recorded growth of OFW remittances in six months.

Data released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Friday showed remittances for the month reached $2.3 billion.

The amount rose from $2.1 billion received into the country in the same month in 2013, as well as the $2.2 billion posted in May 2014.

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.

The central bank data added that the cumulative amount of remittances was above the $10-billion mark in the first half of the year.

January to June 2014 remittances reached $12.7 billion, up 6.2 percent from $11.9 billion in the comparative period in 2013.

Cash remittances, or those coursed through banks, grew 5.9 percent year-on-year to $2.05 billion in June from $1.93 billion a year earlier.

Cash remittances for the six-month period increased to $11.4 billion, or 5.8 percent higher than the amount sent in the same period last year.

The BSP noted that cash remittances from land-based ($8.7 billion) and sea-based ($2.7 billion) workers rose by 4.8 percent and 8.8 percent year-on-year, respectively, during the first half.

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 period.

The BSP also noted that latest data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) showed that in the first six months of 2014, approved job orders reached 371,097.

Of the total job orders, 38.5 percent were processed job orders intended for service, production, and professional, technical and related employment in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Taiwan, and Qatar.

“The steady stream of remittances was supported by continuing efforts of banks and non-bank remittance service providers to expand their international and domestic market coverage through tie-ups and establishment of remittance centers aboard and other financial services to cater to the various needs of OFWs and their beneficiaries,” the central bank noted.

In 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 year-earlier level.

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