Inflows sustain rise in June OFW remittances climb to $12.1 B in H1 (Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines – Remittances from Filipinos living and working abroad grew 5.6 percent in the first half of the year as the June inflow zoomed to its highest level so far this year on the back of sustained demand for skilled Filipino manpower overseas.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP)Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. reported yesterday that cash remittances from overseas Filipinos amounted to $12.08 billion in the first six months of the year, $637 million higher compared to $11.45 billion in the same period last year.

Tetangco said major sources of cash remittances from January to June this year were the US, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, and Canada.

“Remittances remained robust partly due to stable demand for skilled Filipinos abroad,” Tetangco said.

Statistics from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) showed job orders reaching 454,263 and more than a third were intended for service, production as well as professional, technical and related workers in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Taiwan, and the UAE.

Tetangco also cited the efforts of banks to cope with the increasing remittance flows.

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As of end-June, the BSP chief said the number of bank tie-ups, remittance centers, correspondent banks as well as branches and representative offices grew 18.5 percent to 5,541 from 4,675.

“Similarly, stronger remittance inflows was supported by the continued initiatives of bank and non-bank remittance service providers to expand their international and domestic market coverage, and the introduction of innovations in their remittance products,” Tetangco said.

Cash sent home by overseas Filipinos in June was the highest so far this year, growing 6.1 percent to $2.18 billion from $2.05 billion in the same month last year. It was the highest since December when Filipinos abroad sent home $2.32 billion to their loved ones in the Philippines.

On the other hand, personal remittances from overseas Filipinos climbed 5.3 percent to $13.37 billion in the first half of the year from $12.7 billion in the same period last year.

For June alone, personal remittances grew 5.8 percent to $2.41 billion from $2.27 billion in the same month last year.

Tetangco attributed the continued expansion in personal remittances to the strong inflows from land-based workers with contracts of at least one year as well as sea-based and land-based workers with short-term contracts.

The Philippines is the third-leading recipient of remittances in the world after India and China. About 12 million Filipinos are working abroad.

The country relies heavily on remittances from overseas Filipinos as a major source of dollar economy.