OFW remittances exceed growth projection of 4% in 2017

 

By Rose de la Cruz

 

The full-year remittances of overseas Filipino workers in 2017 stood at $31.3 billion, posting a new record high at $3 billion in December, or an expansion of 7.9 percent relative to the level recorded in the same month last year.

 

 

This brings the cumulative personal remittances level for January to December 2017 to $31.3 billion, 5.3 percent higher than the $29.7 billion level in 2016 and exceeding the BSP's projection of 4.0 percent for 2017, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Nestor A. Espenilla, Jr. announced Thursday.

 

The sustained growth in personal remittances during the year was steered by the increase in remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more (by 4.1 percent) and from sea-based and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year (by 5.3 percent).

 

The growth in OF remittances continued to provide support to the country's economy as a major driver of domestic demand.

 

The 2017 level of OF personal remittances accounted for 10.0 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and 8.3 percent of gross national income (GNI).

 

Similarly, cash remittances from OFs coursed through banks registered an all-time high of US$2.7 billion, rising by 7.1 percent year-on-year in December 2017.

 

The top countries that contributed to the increase in total cash remittances during the month were the United States (US), United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Singapore. Full-year cash remittances totaled US$28.1 billion, 4.3 percent higher than the US$26.9 billion recorded in 2016.

 

The higher cash remittances in 2017 was supported by the increase in transfers from both land-based and sea-based workers by 4.0 percent and 5.4 percent, respectively.

 

Notwithstanding pockets of political uncertainties across the globe, cash remittances in 2017 remained resilient. Remittances from the Middle East increased by 3.4 percent, driven by growth in remittances from the UAE, Qatar, and Bahrain. OF remittances from Asia rose by 7.3 percent, boosted by transfers originating from Singapore, Japan, and Taiwan.

 

For the Americas, which increased by 5.8 percent, the major contributor was the 5.5 percent growth in remittances from the US. Despite the decrease in remittances coming from the United Kingdom (partly due to the depreciation of the pound sterling vis-a-vis the US dollar), remittances from Europe went up by 1.5 percent.

 

By country source, the bulk of cash remittances for the year came from the US, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Japan, United Kingdom, Qatar, Kuwait, Germany, and Hong Kong.2 The combined remittances from these countries accounted for 80.1 percent of total cash remittances.

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