• Melo Acuna

Remittances reach record high

Personal and cash remittances reach record highs in 2019

MANILA – Despite the trade war between the United States of America and China as well as fears of the impact of Brexit on the European economy, personal remittances from Overseas Filipinos (OFs) reached a record high of US$33.5 billion in 2019, posting a 3.9 percent higher than the US$32.2 billion achieved in 2018.

According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, personal remittances last December posted a year-on-year growth of 1.9 percent and registered its highest monthly level at US$3.2 billion.

The BSP said the sustained growth in personal remittances during the year was primarily due to the 3.5 percent increase in remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more, which amounted to US$25.6 billion from US$24.8 billion.

The 6.5 percent increase in personal remittances from sea-based and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year amounting to US$7.1 billion from US$6.7 billion, added to the growth in personal remittances.

In 2019, personal remittances which increased household income and consumption accounted for 9.3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and 7.8 percent of gross national income (GNI).

A bigger part of remittances was in the form of cash that were coursed through banks. Total cash remittances in 2019 reached an all-time high of US$30.1 billion or US$28.9 billion recorded in 2018. Growth in cash remittances was due to higher flows from both land-based workers (US$23.6 billion) with an increase of 3.5 percent and sea-based workers (US$6.5 billion with a noticeable increase of 6.5 percent.

With several pockets of political uncertainties worldwide, cash remittances in 2019 remained strong with the inward remittances from Asia (12.3%), the Americas (10.6%), and Africa (4.6%). The growth of inflows in these regions more than made up for the 9.8 percent decline in remittances from the Middle East.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas reported remittance inflows were sourced mainly from the United States of America with the highest share of 37.6 percent and followed by Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Japan, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Canada, Hong Kong, Germany and Kuwait as remittances from these countries accounted for some 78.4% of the total cash remittances during the period.

It has been reported there were over 10 million Filipinos living or working abroad. (Melo M. Acuña)

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