Personal remittances from Overseas Filipinos (OFs) amounted to US$10 billion for January to April 2017, registering 4.7 percent year-on-year growth, BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. announced today.1 Personal remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more aggregated US$7.8 billion while those from sea-based and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year totaled US$2.1 billion for the same period. However, personal remittances in April (at US$2.3 billion) were 5.2 percent lower than the level posted in the same month last year.
For the first four months of 2017, cash remittances from OFs coursed through banks recorded 4.2 percent growth from the level posted in the same period a year ago, reaching US$9.0 billion. Specifically, remittances sent by land-based workers increased by 5.8 percent, compensating for the 1.4 percent decline in sea-based workers’ remittances. For April alone, total cash remittances fell by 5.9 percent year-on-year to US$2.1 billion. This was attributed to the 7.6 percent drop in cash remittances from land-based workers which offset the marginal increase (0.3 percent) in transfers from sea-based workers. The top countries that registered declines in cash remittances in April were Saudi Arabia (partly as a result of repatriation of workers under the Saudi Arabian Amnesty program), followed by Singapore, Australia, and United Kingdom (UK).
Aside from recorded declines in cash remittances (in original currency) in these countries, the lower US dollar value of remittances in April could be partly due to the depreciation of major host countries’ currencies vis-à-vis the US dollar, such as the Singaporean dollar, Australian dollar, pound sterling and the euro. Furthermore, the decrease in remittances could be attributed to the lesser number of banking days in April 2017 compared to the same month a year ago.
Cash remittances coming from the United States (US), Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Singapore, Japan, UK, Qatar, Kuwait, Hong Kong, and Canada comprised about 80 percent of total cash remittances in the first four months of 2017. 2
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.