MONEY sent home by overseas Filipinos surged to a nine-month high in September, central bank data released on Tuesday showed.
Personal remittances reached $2.62 billion in September, up 6.3 percent from $2.46 billion a year earlier – the highest level since $2.72 billion was registered in December 2015.
In August, personal remittances reached $2.55 billion.
Personal remittances are transfers in cash or in kind, as well as capital transfers between households.
Remittances totaled $22.10 billion in the first nine months of the year, up 4.7 percent from a year earlier.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has set a $26.-billion target for the whole of 2016.
Cash remittances coursed through banks totaled $2.38 billion in September, up 4.7 percent from $2.23 billion registered in September 2015. In August, cash remittances totaled $2.31 billion.
“Top countries that contributed to the growth in cash remittances in September were the United States, United Arab Emirates, Japan, Qatar, Taiwan and Kuwait,” the BSP said in a statement.
In the nine months to September, cash remittances reached $20.02 billion, up 4.8 from $19.10 billion year-on-year, mostly from the United States, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Japan, Qatar, Kuwait, Hong Kong, and Germany.
Because of its reliance on money transfers by overseas Filipinos, the Philippines may be facing a spell of credit negative should a shift in the United States immigration policy happen under the Trump presidency, according to debt watcher Moody’s Investors Service.
“A policy shift that would disrupt immigration into the US would be credit negative for countries more highly dependent on remittance flows, including El Salvador, the Philippines and Vietnam,” Moody’s said.
A main driver of economic growth, remittances from overseas Filipinos account for up to 10 percent of gross domestic product.
The Philippines has a credit rating of Baa2 from Moody’s, which is a notch above the minimum investment grade. The rating carries a stable outlook, indicating it is unlikely to change within the rating’s 18- to 24-month horizon.