MONEY sent home by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) dropped to a nine-month low in June, data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed on Thursday.
Personal remittances — made up of OFWs’ net compensation; personal transfers, whether in cash or kind; and capital transfers between households — reached $2.545 billion in the month, 2.7 percent lower than $2.615 billion a year ago and 12.1 percent lower than $2.896 billion in May.
The June amount was the lowest posted since September 2018’s $2.490 billion.
The central bank did not cite specific reasons for the decline.
The June figure brought the first-half tally to $16.252 billion, up 2.9 percent from $15.787 billion in the same period in 2018.
“Similarly, personal remittances from sea-based workers and land-based workers with short-term contracts increased by 8.8 percent to $3.5 billion in H1 2019 from $3.2 billion in H1 2018,” BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said in a statement.
Cash remittances, which only count money coursed through banks, also fell by 2.9 percent to $2.290 billion in June from $2.357 billion a year earlier. It also dropped by 12.2 percent from $2.609 billion in May.
“This was attributed to the 5.4-percent y-o-y (year-on-year) drop in cash remittances from land-based workers, which was mitigated by the 6.3-percent increase y-o-y in transfers from sea-based workers,” Diokno explained.
Saudi Arabia and Qatar were the countries that contributed to the June decline, according to him.
Year to date, cash remittances grew by 3.2 percent to $14.638 billion from $14.179 billion last year.
“Cash remittances sent by land-based workers rose by 1.8 percent year-on-year to $11.4 billion, and transfers from sea-based workers grew by 8.7 percent y-o-y to $3.2 billion,” the BSP chief said.
He noted that the United States registered the highest share of overall remittances for the period at 36.4 percent. It was followed by Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada,
Hong Kong, Germany and Qatar.
“The combined remittances from these countries accounted for 78 percent of total cash remittances from January to June 2019,” Diokno said.