Oct 042013

MANILA, Philippines – The amount of remittances sent by overseas Filipinos is estimated to grow six percent to $26 billion this year, making up over six percent of the $414-billion forecast global remittance level this year, the World Bank said in a report.

The World Bank said the forecast top recipients of remittances for 2013 are India ($71 billion), China ($60 billion), the Philippines ($26 billion), Mexico ($22 billion), Nigeria ($21 billion), and Egypt ($20 billion). Other large recipients include Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Ukraine.

In its latest issue of the Migration and Development Brief, the global financial institution said the figure could have been bigger.

“Several large remittance recipient countries such as Russia, Latvia, Lithuania and Uruguay are no longer considered (by the World Bank) as developing countries,” the report said.

In addition, the data on remittances also reflect the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) changes to the definition of remittances that now exclude some capital transfers, affecting a few large developing countries like Brazil.

Growth of remittances has been robust in all regions of the world, except for Latin America and the Caribbean, where growth decelerated due to economic weakness in the United States.

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Remittances in the East Asia and the Pacific region (including the Philippines) are expected to expand 7.4 percent in 2013 to $115.3 billion. The inflows would account for about 28 percent of total remittances to developing countries.

Figures earlier released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) show that remittances from overseas Filipinos amounted to $21.39 billion in 2012.

In the first half this year, remittances amounted to $10.7 billion.

In the Philippines, money transfers from overseas Filipinos accounted for some 10 percent of gross domestic products (GDP) in 2012, and continue to expand on the back of the growing deployment of overseas workers at an estimated 5.8 percent in this year.

But fees or charges have been increasing likewise as bank branch pick-up of cash can incur an additional cost of about $1.5 per transaction, but are exempt from documentary-stamp tax (DST). Overseas Filipinos reportedly send an average of $200 per month.

Money transfer operators (MTOs) charge $12.67, but this varies depending on the point of origin.

The global average cost for sending remittances is nine percent of amount sent.

The World Bank also noted that the share of the East Asia and the Pacific migrants living within the region slightly increased. Within the region, Southeast Asian countries have attracted more inflows from the region than East Asia.

“This dynamic intra-regional mobility might owe to the wide disparities in incomes across countries in the region,” it reported.

Middle and high-income countries, such as Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore are net migrant receiving countries. Low- and lower-middle income countries in the region tend to be net sending countries such as Cambodia, the Philippines, Myanmar and Lao P.D.R.

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