Remittances recover in September

The amount of cash sent home by Filipinos abroad recovered in September after registering its first decline in 12 years in August due to the weakening of other currencies against the US dollar, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilpinas (BSP) reported yesterday.

BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said cash remittances from overseas Filipinos bounced back in September, growing 4.3 percent to $2.2 billion from $2.11 billion in the same month last year.

Last August, cash remittances slipped 0.6 percent due to the depreciation of some currencies including the Euro, Canadian dollar, and the Japanese yen, reducing the US dollar equivalent of remittances sent home from host countries.

That was the first time since April 2003 when the amount of money sent home by Filipinos to their loved ones in the Philippines contracted 10.9 percent.

Tetangco said cash remittances inched up 4.1 percent to $18.41 billion from January to September this year from $17.68 billion in the same period last year amid the continued strong demand for skilled Filipino workers abroad.

Data showed remittances from land-based Filipino workers grew 4.4 percent to $14.1 billion in the first nine months of the year while cash sent home by sea-based workers went up 3.3 percent to $4.3 billion.

The BSP chief said preliminary reports form the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) showed total job orders for the first nine months of the year reached 663,112.

He added about 41.6 percent of the total job orders from January to September for service, production, and professional, technical and related workers needed in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Taiwan and Hong Kong have been processed.

“The continued demand for overseas Filipino workers remained the key driver of sustained remittance inflows,” Tetangco said.

He said bulk of the remittances in the first nine months of the year came from the US, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Japan, Hong Kong and Canada.

On the other hand, personal remittances rose 4.3 percent to $2.43 billion in September this year from $2.33 billion in the same period last year. This brought to 3.9 percent the total growth for the first nine months of the year to $20.37 billion from $19.6 billion.

Personal remittances is computed as the sum of gross earnings of overseas Filipino workers with work contracts of less than one year, including all sea-based workers, less taxes, social contributions, and transportation and travel expenditures in their host countries.

Tetangco also noted the initiatives of banks and non-bank remittance service providers to expand their international and domestic market coverage through tie-ups abroad as well as the introduction of innovations in their remittance products continued to support the steady inflow of remittances.

As of end-September, commercial banks’ established tie-ups, remittance centers, correspondent banks and branches/representative offices abroad reached 5,491 from a year-ago level of 4,587.

Cash remittances serve as a major source of foreign exchange that serves as buffer against external shocks.

The country’s gross international reserves (GIR) amounted to $81.14 billion – its highest level since December 2013. The reserves serve as buffer to ensure that the Philippines would not run out of foreign exchange that it could use to pay for imported goods and services, or maturing obligations in case of external shocks.

Source: The Philippine Star

By: Lawrence Agcaoili and Ted P. Torres

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