Remittances through banking networks increased by 2.4 percent to $7.77 billion as of end-March from $7.59 billion last year, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said on Monday, May 16.
For the month of March, cash remittances rose by 3.2 percent to $2.59 billion versus $2.51 billion same month in 2021.
The BSP said land-based workers sent home $2.02 billion remittances via banks, up by 3.7 percent from same time last year of $1.95 billion. Sea-based workers also increased their fund transfers by 1.3 percent to $573 million from $566 million.
Overseas Filipinos in the US, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, and Saudi Arabia contributed largely to the increase in remittances in the first quarter, noted the central bank.
“In terms of country sources, the US registered the highest share of overall remittances at 41.5 percent in Q1 (first quarter) 2022, followed by Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Taiwan, Qatar, and Malaysia,” said the BSP. These countries accounted for 79.1 percent of total cash remittances in the first three months of the year.
The BSP said personal remittances as of end-March reached $8.65 billion, up by 2.3 percent from $8.45 billion in the same period last year.
For March only, personal remittances rose by 3.1 percent to $2.89 billion from $2.80 billion.
According to the central bank, the growth in personal remittances came from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more, which sent home $2.19 billion in March, up by 3.7 percent from $2.12 billion. Meantime, sea- and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year, remitted $625 million which was 1.4 percent higher from $616 million in March 2021.
The BSP continues to pursue initiatives to enhance and improve the environment of remittances as one of the country’s primary foreign currency source.
These initiatives are: enhancing transparency and fostering competition in the remittance market; promoting efficient and speedy transfer of funds to beneficiaries particularly in remote areas of the country; and encouraging overseas Filipinos and their families to channel remittances into savings and investments.
The BSP is projecting cash remittances to grow by four percent this year, however BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said in March that it is possible for remittances to grow higher or by five percent.
In 2021, cash remittances increased by 5.1 percent year-on-year to a record high of $31.42 billion but was off the expected six percent growth for the year.