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Personal Remittances Climb to US$19.5 Billion in the First Eight Months of 2016

10.17.2016

Overseas Filipinos’ (OFs) personal remittances in August 2016 increased by 16 percent year-on-year to reach US$2.6 billion, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Officer-in-Charge Nestor A. Espenilla announced today.1 On a year-to-date basis, personal remittances for the first eight months of 2016 grew by 4.4 percent from the previous year’s level to US$19.5 billion. Personal remittances comprised largely of transfers from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more (at US$15.1 billion) and remittances from sea-based and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year (at US$4.1 billion).

Similarly, cash remittances from OFs coursed through banks registered an increase of 16.3 percent in August 2016. Cumulative remittances in the first eight months of 2016 posted a 4.6 percent increase totaling US$17.6 billion. In particular, cash remittances from land-based workers rose by 6.5 percent to US$13.9 billion while that of sea-based workers fell moderately by 1.9 percent to reach US$3.7 billion. 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 

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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.  

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