MANILA, Philippines - Money sent home by Filipinos abroad grew faster than expected in 2012, reaching a new record of $21.391 billion, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported on Friday.
The total tally of cash remittances, coursed through banks, represented a growth rate of 6.3 percent, surpassing the central bank's 5-percent projection.
For December alone, remittances also hit a new monthly record of $1.975 billion, an improvement of almost a tenth from year-ago levels.
"The resilience of overseas Filipino remittances continues to support the country's economic growth and develoment," BSP Governor Amando Tetangco, Jr. said in a statement.
"Remittances continue to draw strength from the increasing demand for a wider range of skilled Filipino workers abroad, mostly in the Middle East," he added.
According to BSP data, the United States remained the top source of remittances last year, accounting for 42.6 percent of the total. It was followed by Canada (9.2 percent), Saudi Arabia (8.1 percent), United Kingdom (five percent), Japan, (4.7 percent), United Arab Emirates (4.5 percent) and Singapore (4.1 percent).
Overseas remittances account for 8.5 percent of total economic output in 2012, the central bank said.