Personal remittances from overseas Filipinos (OFs) increased by 3.8 percent year-on-year to US$2.4 billion in April 2016. This brought cumulative remittances for the first four months of the year to US$9.6 billion, 3 percent higher than the level recorded in the comparable period in 2015, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. announced today.1 The continued growth in personal remittances during the reference period was due mainly to the steady remittance inflows from land-based OF workers with work contracts of one year or more, amounting to US$7.3 billion, and compensation of sea-based workers and land-based workers with short-term contracts (excluding their expenditures abroad), which reached US$2.1 billion.
Similarly, cash remittances from OFs coursed through banks rose by 4.1 percent to US$2.2 billion in April 2016. On a year-to-date basis, cash remittances for the period January–April 2016 reached US$8.7 billion, representing a 3.1 percent growth year-on-year. Cash remittances from both land-based (US$6.8 billion) and sea-based (US$1.9 billion) workers grew by 3.8 percent and 0.8 percent year-on-year, respectively. More than three-fourths of cash remittances came from the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Japan, Qatar, Hong Kong, Kuwait, and Germany.2
The sustained demand for OF workers continued to provide support to the growth of remittance inflows. Preliminary data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) indicated that a total of 777,887 contracts were processed in the first four months of 2016.
1 The BSP started to release data on personal remittances in June 2012. As defined in the Balance of Payments and International Investment Position 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 for capital formation purposes, such as for construction of residential houses, between resident and non-resident households without anything of economic value being supplied in return).
2 There are some limitations on the remittance data by source. A common practice of remittance centers in various cities abroad is to course remittances through correspondent banks, most of which are located in the U.S. Also remittances coursed through money transfer operators (MTOs) cannot be disaggregated by actual country source and are lodged under the country where the main offices of the MTOs are located, which, in many cases, is in the U.S. Therefore, the U.S. would show up to be the main source of OF remittances because banks attribute the origin of funds to the most immediate source