Apr 152013

MANILA, Philippines – Money sent home by Filipinos abroad grew by 6 percent in February to $1.682 billion from $1.587 billion a year ago, the central bank reported on Monday.

The amount represented cash coursed through banks. It brought the two-month tally to $3.363 billion, an improvement of seven percent from last year. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) projects a 5-percent expansion in cash remittances for 2013.

A separate gauge called personal remittances- which included hand-carry transfers– rose by a faster 6.9 percent last month and 7.6 percent for the first two months of the year.

“The steady deployment of overseas Filipino workers remained a primary contributory factor to the growth in remittances flows,” BSP said in a statement.

More than three-fourths of cash remittances were sent by land-based workers, while about a quarter were sent by seafarers, figures showed.

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The United States remained the top source of remittances, accounting for 41.5 percent of the total. It was followed by Canada (9.8 percent), Saudi Arabia (7.9 percent), the United Kingdom (5.3 percent), the United Arab Emirates (4.5 percent), Singapore (4.1 percent) and Japan (3.5 percent).

The BSP said remittances are poised to increase further in the coming months as indicated by the Department of Labor and Employment.

“[O]pportunities for migrant workers through infrastructure projects in Hong Kong and increased minimum wage for monthly paid workers in Taiwan, could support further the sustained inflows of remittances to the country in the coming months,” it explained.

Remittances form part of the country’s balance of payments (BOP), which gauges our capacity to settle external debts and meet trade obligations. 

The country’s BOP has been consistently in surplus since 2009, indicating more inflows than outflows in the economy. It reflects more than adequate resources for the country to meet its liabilities. 

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