Remittances breach USD15-B mark in H1 2017

Bruno Cirelli
Agosto 16, 2017

Money sent home by Filipino migrant workers continued to recover in June, pushing remittances growth higher than official government target in the first six months, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported on Tuesday.

Remittances from Filipinos overseas reached $15.4 billion in the first half of 2017, higher by 5.5 percent than the same period in 2016.

BSP Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. said personal remittances climbed 6.8 percent to $2.75 billion in June from $2.57 billion in the same month a year ago, the highest since the record $2.91 billion last March.

This is 4.7 percent higher than the $13.192 billion inflow for the same period previous year.

The growth was boosted largely by the 5.5 percent increase in personal remittances from land-based workers with long-term contracts, whose remittances comprised 77.3 percent of total personal remittances.

Remittances transferred through bank networks reached $13.8 billion as of end-June, up 4.7 percent compared to the same time a year ago of $13.19 billion, data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) show.

"The sustained increase in remittances was supported by stable demand for skilled Filipinos overseas", Espenilla said.

"It was also supported by the 1.7 percent rise in remittances from sea-based and land-based workers with short-term contracts", the central bank added.

Personal remittances are transfers in cash or in kind, as well as capital transfers between households.

The US and the UAE each contributed 1.9 percentage points to the overall growth of 5.7 percent, while Hong Kong and Singapore contributed a combined 1.1 percentage points.

For 2017, the BSP still expects remittances to grow by four percent.

The BSP said 80 percent of the total cash remittances in the first half of the year came from the US, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Japan, the United Kingdom, Qatar, Kuwait, Germany and Hong Kong.

Large overseas remittance flows have been a significant facet of the Philippine economy as these have been a major source of foreign exchange for the country. It was also the third-fastest growth pace in the first half of the year, following March's 10.7 percent and January's 8.6 percent.

The government set its projection of remittance growth for the year at 4 percent, to hit $28 billion by 2017's end.

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