• OFW remittances bounce back in Sept

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    Remittances from overseas Filipinos bounced back in September after contracting in August, central bank data showed on Monday, as easing fears over a US Fed rate hike weakened the dollar.

    The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said continued demand for Filipino workers abroad was behind the rebound.

    Personal remittances—representing overseas Filipinos’ earnings, personal transfers in cash or in kind and capital transfers between households—grew by 4.3 percent to $2.43 billion from a year earlier after falling by 0.8 percent in August.

    Cash remittances—money sent through banks—also increased by 4.3 percent in September to $2.2 billion, recovering from a 0.6 percent dip a month earlier.

    An analyst said the rebound of remittances could be traced to a weakness in the US dollar during the month following reports that the US Federal Reserve would delay a rate hike to early next year.

    “Remittances were able to recover as the DXY (US dollar index) eased with the dollar giving up gains as the Fed disappointed markets by not hiking rates at its September meeting,” said Nicholas Antonio Mapa, associate economist at the Bank of the Philippine Islands.

    “With the dollar index easing somewhat, we saw remittances post its ‘normal’ growth rate of roughly 5 percent,” Mapa added.

    Year to date growth in personal remittances remained at 3.9 percent, the same as a month earlier and amounting to $20.37 billion.

    Funds coursed through banks for the January to September period also saw flat growth at 4.1 percent to $18.41 billion.

    Cash remittances from land-based and sea-based Filipinos hit $14.1 billion and $4.3 billion, respectively.

    The United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Japan, Hong Kong and Canada were the major sources of cash remittances for the nine-month period.

    The central bank, in noting continued demand for Filipino workers, cited preliminary data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration that showed 663,112 job orders were approved in the first nine months of the year.

    Of these, 41.6 percent were intended for service, production, and professional, technical and related workers in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

    In 2014, personal remittances hit an all-time high of $24.96 billion while cash remittances reached $24.34 billion.

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