Remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in April 2004 reached US$660 million, 5.6 percent lower than the US$699 million recorded in the comparable month last year. This resulted in the slowdown in the growth of the four-month cumulative OFW remittances to 1.6 percent or US$2.6 billion from 4.4 percent recorded during the first three months of the year.
The contraction in remittance flows in April was due in part to more rigid implementation of the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) law by Saudi Arabia which called for the stricter examination of fund transfers and compliance to certain documents by overseas workers prior to remittance. Consequently, OFW remittance from Saudi Arabia dropped by 7.6 percent. Deployment statistics from POEA show that Saudi Arabia is host to about one-fifth of Filipino workers overseas. The peso depreciation in April may have contributed also to the lower remittances during the month since it allowed remitters to get higher peso equivalent for lesser U.S. dollar remittances.
OFW remittances are expected to pick-up again in May and June in time for the school enrolment period in the country and as OFWs in Saudi Arabia become adjusted to the documentation requirement for fund transfer provided for by its AML.
On the aggregate, the U.S., United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Italy, Hong Kong and Japan remained to be the major sources of remittances.