• Remittances shrink for 2nd straight mth

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    Reach $2.416B in May from $2.443B in April; slightly higher year-on-year

    Remittances from overseas Filipinos declined for the second month in a row, with personal remittances falling to $2.416 billion after posting a year-to-date monthly high of $2.606 billion in March, and $2.443 billion in April, the central bank reported on Friday.

    Personal remittances—representing overseas Filipinos’ earnings, personal transfers in cash or in kind, and capital transfers between households—declined by 1.1 percent from April, but were 1.8 percent higher than the $2.374 billion recorded in May 2015. May’s year-on-year growth rate was also markedly smaller than the 9.3 percent acceleration of remittances a year earlier.

    On a cumulative basis, personal remittances for the period January–May 2016 rose by 2.7 percent to reach $11.993 billion, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said. The growth rate for the first five months of the year was also sharply lower than the growth rate of 8.7 percent for the comparable period in 2015.

    The BSP said that cash remittances coursed through banks totaled $2.188 billion in May 2016, higher by 1.9 percent than the $2.147 billion registered a year ago, but 1.1 percent lower than the $2.213 billion recorded in April, which was likewise lower than the year’s high so far of $2.362 billion in March. The year-on-year growth rate was likewise considerably slower than the previous year’s 9.6 percent expansion.

    This brought cash remittances for the first five months of 2016 to $10.859 billion, representing a growth of 2.9 percent year-on-year. Land-based workers provided the bulk of cash remittances, approximately $8.5 billion, with about $2.4 billion in remittances being sent by sea-based workers in the year-to-date period. 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.

    Personal remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more amounted to $9.2 billion, the BSP said, while sea-based and short-term workers provided $2.6 billion for the five-month period.

    Focusing on the year-to-year growth of remittances, the BSP said, “The steady deployment of OF [overseas Filipino]workers remained a key driver behind the sustained inflows of remittances. Further, reports from the POEA of additional demand for Filipino nurses in Japan and Germany are expected to support the continued inflow of remittances.”

    For the full-year 2016, the BSP has forecast cash remittance growth at 4.0 percent, which would amount to an estimated total of $26.8 billion. Cash remittances for all of 2015 amounted to $25.767 billion. Singapore banking giant DBS, by contrast, forecast slightly higher remittance growth of 5.0 percent, which would take the full-year cash remittance total to just over $27 billion.

    At the current year-to-date growth rate of 2.9 percent, cash remittances are on track to register an estimated $26.51 billion for all of 2016.

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