Cash flows from Filipinos abroad rise for 2nd straight month in January

In a statement yesterday, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said cash remittances logged $2.022 billion for the month, posting a 3.4% rise from the $1.956 billion seen in January 2015 though lower than the record-high $2.47 billion inflows tallied in December, when remittances traditionally peak due to the Christmas season.

January saw sustained growth from December, following declines seen in October and November last year.

Broken down, land-based workers remitted $1.6 billion through banks and other formal channels, while those deployed at sea sent home $447 million at the start of year.

The biggest sources of remittances were the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Qatar and Japan.

“Remittance flows from overseas Filipinos remained resilient, underpinned by the sustained demand for skilled manpower overseas,” the BSP said in a statement yesterday.

The BSP is projecting a 4% growth in remittances for 2016 given lingering concerns on weaker global commodity demand and slower global growth prospects, as announced by the Monetary Board in its Dec. 17 meeting.

Cash remittances posted an all-time high of $25.767 billion in 2015, up by 4.6% from 2014’s $24.628 billion that breached the downward-revised 4% growth estimate of the central bank.

This, however, is slower than the 7.2% and 7.4% pace logged in 2014 and 2013, respectively.

Personal remittances, which include both cash and in-kind transfers of migrant workers to the Philippines, contributed to nearly a tenth of the country’s gross domestic product for the year, bigger than the 8.5% share seen in 2014.

Central bank officials earlier warned that the global oil price slump and geopolitical tensions in the Middle East — which is the second-largest source of remittances next to the United States — could cause a “temporary setback” in deployment and, consequently, on worker remittances.

Source: Business World