Personal remittances from overseas Filipinos (OFs) for the first seven months of 2016 grew by 2.9 percent year-on-year to reach US$16.9 billion, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. announced today.1 Personal remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more reached US$13.1 billion while compensation of sea-based workers and land-based workers with short-term contracts (excluding their expenditures abroad) totaled US$3.6 billion. However, personal remittances for July 2016 amounted to only US$2.4 billion, 5.4 percent lower than the level posted in the same month last year.
Cash remittances from OFs coursed through banks summed up to US$15.3 billion for the period January–July 2016, representing a growth of 3 percent year-on-year. In particular, cash remittances from land-based and sea-based workers totaled US$12.1 billion and US$3.3 billion, respectively. About 80 percent of cash remittances came from the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Japan, Qatar, Kuwait, Hong Kong, and Germany.2
Remittance inflows for the first seven months of 2016 remained stable despite the decline in deployment of skilled Filipino workers. A preliminary report from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) showed that the number of deployed land-based workers (new hires) dropped by 10.3 percent year-on-year to 235,895, while that of sea-based workers fell by 44.4 percent to 134,360.
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.