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Personal Remittances Higher by 4.4 Percent in the First Five Months of 2018


Personal remittances from Overseas Filipinos (OFs) reached US$2.7 billion in May 2018, 6.1 percent higher than the level posted a year ago. On a cumulative basis, personal remittances for the first five months of the year grew by 4.4 percent year-on-year to reach US$13.2 billion, BSP Governor Nestor A. Espenilla, Jr. announced today.  Personal remittances during the period was driven by steady inflows from land-based OF workers with work contracts of one year or more, which totaled to US$10.2 billion, and compensation of  sea-based workers and land-based workers with short-term contracts, which reached  US$2.7 billion.

Similarly, cash remittances from OFs coursed through banks rose by 6.9 percent year-on-year to US$2.5 billion in May 2018. In particular, cash remittances sent by land-based workers (US$1.9 billion) and sea-based workers (US$0.5 billion) grew by 5.3 percent and 13.2 percent, respectively. Of the 6.9 percent growth in May 2018, 2.6, 1.6 and 1.3 percentage points were contributed by the United States (US), United Kingdom (UK) and Singapore, respectively, the main drivers of the growth in cash remittances.
On a year-to-date basis, cash remittances registered a 4.2 percent increase to reach US$11.8 billion. Cash remittances coming from the US, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates (UAE), UK, Japan, Qatar, Hong Kong, Germany and Kuwait accounted for about 78 percent of total cash remittances. 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).
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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