April 16, 2019
Personal remittances — comprising OFWs’ net compensation, personal transfers whether in the form of cash or in kind, and capital transfers between households — totaled $2.557 billion, 1.2 percent higher than the $2.528 billion posted a year earlier, but 6.8 percent lower compared to the $2.745 billion booked in the prior month.
It was also the lowest since September 2018.
The result brought year-to-date remittances to $5.302 billion, 2.3 percent higher than the $5.182 billion registered in the comparable 2017 period.
“Personal remittances from sea-based and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year rose by 8.5 percent to $0.57 billion in February 2019 from $0.53 billion in February 2018,” central bank Governor Benjamin Diokno said in a statement.
“This compensated for the 0.43-percent decline in the personal remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more to $1.93 billion from $1.94 billion,” he added.
Nicholas Antonio Mapa, ING Bank Manila senior economist, said remittance flows remained healthy.
“The steady stream of dollars help fund peso purchasing power, almost assuring that household consumption continues, while also augmenting the sustained struggles of the export sector,” he pointed out.
Cash remittances, which only count money coursed through banks, rose by 1.5 percent to $2.301 billion in February from $2.267 billion a year earlier. It fell by 7.3 percent, however, from the $2.484 billion recorded in January 2019.
Year to date, cash remittances grew by 3.0 percent to $4.784 billion from $4.647 billion last year.
Remittances from both land-based ($3.73 billion) and sea-based ($1.06 billion) workers rose by 1.0 percent and 10.5 percent, respectively, and were said to have supported the year-to-date tally.
“By country source, the United States registered the highest share of overall remittances for the period at 35.5 percent,” Diokno said.
It was followed by Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, Canada, Qatar, Hong Kong, and Germany, accounting for 77.3 percent of total cash remittances for the two-month period.
OFW remittances hit $32.21 billion last year, the “highest annual level to date” according to the central bank.
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