Personal remittances from Overseas Filipinos (OFs) totaled US$15.8 billion during the first half of 2018, posting a 2.8 percent year-on-year growth, BSP Governor Nestor A. Espenilla, Jr. announced today.1 Personal remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more grew by 2.5 percent to US$12.2 billion, while transfers from sea-based workers and land-based workers with short-term contracts likewise increased by 3.4 percent to US$3.2 billion for the same period. However, personal remittances for June (at US$2.6 billion) were 4.9 percent lower than the level posted in the same month a year ago.
For the first semester of 2018, cash remittances from OFs coursed through banks recorded a 2.7 percent growth from the same period a year ago to reach US$14.2 billion. Cash remittances sent by land-based workers and sea-based workers rose by 2.5 percent and 3.4 percent to US$11.2 billion and US$3.0, respectively. For June, however, total cash remittances fell by 4.5 percent year-on-year to US$2.4 billion. The countries that registered the biggest declines in cash remittances in June 2018 are the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. The Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) repatriation program of the government may have partly affected the remittance flows for the month. During the first two months of 2018, a total of 4,149 OFWs were repatriated from UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Furthermore, for 2017, preliminary data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) showed that the number of deployed land-based workers (LBWs) dropped by 3.28 percent (or 1,614,674 LBWs) year-on-year, while that of the sea-based workers (SBWs) fell by 14.62 percent (or 378,072 SBWs).
Cash remittances coming from the United States, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, United Kingdom (UK), UAE, Japan, Qatar, Germany, Hong Kong and Canada accounted for more than 79 percent of total cash remittances for the first six months of 2018.2
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.