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Personal Remittances for the First Two Months of the Year Reach US$4.8 Billion

04.17.2017

Personal remittances from Overseas Filipinos (OFs) amounted to US$2.4 billion in February 2017, posting a year-on-year increase of 3.3 percent. This resulted to a total of US$4.8 billion remittance inflows for the first two months of the year, representing a 5.9 percent growth from the previous year’s level, BSP Officer-in-Charge Nestor A. Espenilla, Jr. announced today.1 For the first two months of 2017, personal remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more registered an increase of 9.1 percent (at US$3.8 billion), while transfers from sea-based and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year declined by 5.0 percent (at US$0.9 billion) compared to the same period a year ago.

Cash remittances of OFs coursed through banks reached US$2.2 billion in February 2017, higher by 3.4 percent than the level posted a year ago. More than three-fourths (at US$1.7 billion) of this was sent by land-based workers while less than a quarter (at US$0.5 billion) was sent by sea-based workers. The United States, United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), Qatar, Singapore, Taiwan and Japan were the major contributors to the growth in cash remittances in February 2017. The 12.8 percent growth in remittances from the United States contributed 3.9 percentage points to the overall growth in cash remittances. Meanwhile, remittances from the U.A.E., Qatar, Singapore, Taiwan and Japan, which grew by 23.7 percent, 53.5 percent, 17.5 percent, 64.4 percent and 11.3 percent, respectively,  contributed a combined 5.5 percentage points to the total growth in cash remittances. These were partially offset by the decline in remittances from Hong Kong, Canada, China and Kuwait which contributed a combined negative 5.1 percentage points to the total growth in cash remittances.

On a year to date basis, cash remittances for the first two months of 2017 totalled US$4.3 billion, up by 5.9 percent compared to the same period last year. Cash remittances from land-based workers rose by 9.1 percent (to US$3.5 billion) compensating for the decrease by 5.0 percent in sea-based workers transfers (to US$0.9 billion).  Almost 80 percent of the cash remittances inflows during the period came from the United States, Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Singapore, United Kingdom, Japan, Qatar, Kuwait, Hong Kong and Australia.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 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 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 couriers cannot be disaggregated by actual country source and are lodged under the country where the main offices are located, which, in many cases, is in the U.S. Therefore, the U.S. would show up to be the main sources of OF remittances because banks attribute the origin of funds to the most immediate source.  

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