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Personal Remittances Hit US$17.9 Billion in First Seven Months of 2017

09.15.2017

Personal remittances from overseas Filipinos (OFs) amounted to US$2.6 billion in July 2017, posting an 8.7 percent increase year-on-year.  On a cumulative basis, personal remittances from OFs for the period January-July 2017 rose by 5.9 percent to reach US$17.9 billion, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Officer-in-Charge Diwa C. Guinigundo announced today.1 The steady growth in personal remittances drew support from the remittance inflows from  land-based OF workers with work contracts of one year or more, amounting to US$13.8 billion, and compensation of sea-based workers and land-based workers with short-term contracts (excluding their expenditures abroad), which reached US$3.6 billion.

Similarly, cash remittances from OFs coursed through banks, aggregating US$2.3 billion in July 2017, were higher by 7.1 percent than the level recorded in the same month last year.  Cash remittances from land-based workers (at US$1.8 billion) and from sea-based workers (at US$0.5 billion), posted 6.8 percent and 8.4 percent growth, respectively, compared to the levels reported a year ago.  By country source, the primary contributors to the growth in cash remittances during the month are the United States (with 3.3 percentage points contribution to growth), United Arab Emirates (UAE) (1.1 percentage points), Singapore (0.8 percentage point), and  Japan (0.6 percentage point).

On a year-to-date basis, cash remittances posted 5.0 percent growth, reaching US$16.1 billion in January to July 2017.  Cash remittances from both land-based and sea-based workers summed up to US$12.8 billion and US$3.3 billion, respectively.   Cash remittances coming from the United States, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Singapore, Japan, United Kingdom, Qatar, Kuwait, Germany and Hong Kong comprised about 80 percent of total cash remittances in the first seven months of 2017.2 

The sustained increase in OF remittances was supported by stable demand for skilled Filipino workers abroad.  Preliminary data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) showed that for the period January-July 2017, the total number of deployed OF workers reached 1,222,003 which is about 58 percent of the total number of OF workers deployed for the year 2016 at 2,112,331.

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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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