Personal remittances from Overseas Filipinos (OFs)1 totaled US$2.9 billion in August 2019, 4.2 percent higher than the US$2.8 billion in August 2018. This brings personal remittances for the first eight months of 2019 to US$22 billion, up by 3.6 percent from last years’ level of US$21.2 billion.
The steady growth in personal remittances during the first eight months of 2019 drew support from the remittance inflows from land-based OF workers with work contracts of one year or more, which aggregated US$16.8 billion from US$16.3 billion in the same period last year. Inflows from the compensation of sea-based workers and land-based workers with short-term contracts also contributed to this growth and totaled US$4.7 billion from US$4.4 billion a year ago.
Likewise, cash remittances from OFs coursed through banks rose to US$2.6 billion in August 2019, (from $2.5 billion last year) bringing cash remittances for the first eight months this year to US$19.8 billion (from US$19.1 billion recorded in the same period last year). Cash remittances from land-based and sea-based workers increased by 2.8 percent to US$15.5 billion and 8.2 percent to US$4.3 billion, respectively, for January-August 2019.
By country source, the US registered the highest share of overall remittances for January to August 2019 at 37 percent. It was followed by Saudi Arabia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, the UK, Japan, Canada, Hong Kong, Germany and Kuwait.2 The combined remittances from these countries accounted for 78.4 percent of total cash remittances from January to August 2019.
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 appear to be the main source of OF remittances because banks attribute the origin of funds to the most immediate source. The countries are listed in order of their share of cash remittances, i.e., from highest to lowest.