By Lee C. Chipongian
Cash remittances from overseas Filipinos reached $19.808 billion as of end-August, up 3.9 percent year-on-year, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said on Tuesday.
In a statement, the BSP said cash remittances from land-based workers went up by 2.8 percent to $15.5 billion while sea-based workers sent home $4.3 billion, higher by 8.2 percent year-on-year.
For the month of August alone, overseas Filipinos’ cash remittances increased by 4.6 percent to $2.589 billion from $2.476 billion same time last year.
About 37 percent of total cash remittances came from remitters located in the US. Major country sources of these fund transfers also include Saudi Arabia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Hong Kong, Germany and Kuwait. “The combined remittances from these countries accounted for 78.4 percent of total cash remittances from January to August 2019,” said the BSP.
These bank-channeled cash remittances are expected to grow by three percent this year over 2018’s $28.943 billion, based on BSP’s external sector forecasts for 2019.
As for personal remittances, as of end-August these reached $21.995 billion, up 3.6 percent year-on-year. Personal remittances do not go through banks but through other forms of remittance channels.
“The steady growth in personal remittances during the first eight months of 2019 drew support from the remittance inflows from land-based overseas Filipino workers with work contracts of one year or more,” said the BSP. This amounted to $16.8 billion from $16.3 billion in the same period last year.
The BSP said “inflows from the compensation of sea-based workers and land-based workers with short-term contracts also contributed to this growth” with $4.7 billion which was up from $4.4 billion in 2018.
For August only, personal remittances totaled $2.875 billion, 4.2 percent more than same time last year of $2.760 billion.
Personal remittance was first reported in 2012 and is the sum of net compensation of employees, personal transfers and capital transfers between households.
While the BSP revised most of it external sector projection for 2019, it has not changed its growth estimates for remittances which remains at three percent for this year.
In 2018, cash remittances reported a 3.1 percent year-on-year growth.