BSP announced today that personal remittances from overseas Filipinos (OFs) for January-June 2013 totaled US$11.8 billion, representing a 6.2 percent increase from the level registered in the same period last year. 1 The sustained expansion in personal remittances during the first half of 2013 was boosted largely by the 5.1 percent growth in remittance flows from land-based OF workers with work contracts of one year or more, whose remittances comprised 75.1 percent of the total. Meanwhile, remittance flows from sea-based workers and land-based workers with short-term contracts grew by 7.5 percent. For June 2013 alone, personal remittances from OFs rose year-on-year by 5.7 percent to reach US$2.1 billion, the highest monthly level recorded during the year.
Meanwhile, cash remittances from OFs coursed through banks for the first six months of 2013 reached US$10.7 billion, sustaining the 5.6 percent growth posted in the same period last year. In particular, remittances from both sea-based (US$2.5 billion) and land-based workers (US$8.2 billion) expanded by 7.4 percent and 5.1 percent, respectively. The major sources of cash remittances were the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Canada, and Japan. Total flows from these countries represented about three-fourths (74.8 percent) of the total cash remittances coursed through banks.
Remittances remained robust partly on the back of continued increase in demand for skilled Filipinos abroad. Latest data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) showed that the number of workers deployed overseas in 2012 increased by 6.8 percent to 1,802,031 from 1,687,831 in 2011. About 80 percent of the total number of deployed OF workers were land-based workers (1,435,166), 32 percent of which were newly-hired workers (458,575). Majority of the new hires were employed as service, production, professional, and technical workers. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Qatar remained the leading destinations of land-based workers (both new hires and rehires). The steady stream of remittances also drew continued support from the efficient network of bank and non-bank remittance channels established worldwide and their expanding financial services to cater to the various needs of OFs. As of end-June 2013, commercial banks’ established tie-ups, remittance centers, correspondent banks, and branches/representative offices abroad reached 4,409.
1 It may be recalled that the BSP started the release of data on personal remittances in June 2012. As defined in Balance of Payments Manual, 6th Edition (BPM6), personal remittances represent the sum of net compensation of employees (i.e., gross earnings of overseas Filipino (OF) workers with work contracts of less than one year, including all sea-based workers, less taxes, social contributions, and transportation and travel expenditures in their host countries), personal transfers (i.e., all current transfers in cash or in kind by OF workers with work contracts of one year or more as well as other household-to-household transfers between Filipinos who have migrated abroad and their families in the Philippines), and capital transfers between households (i.e., the provision of resources of capital purposes, such as for construction of residential houses, between resident and non-resident households without anything of economic value being supplied in return).