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Remittances up by 6.4%

MANILA, Philippines - Remittances from overseas Filipinos jumped by 6.4 percent in the first seven months of 2013 compared to the same period last year, the central bank reported on Monday.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP)  said personal remittances from January to July amounted to $13.9 billion, with growth driven by the expansion of remittances from land-based overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). The central bank said personal remittances rose by 7.4 percent year-on-year to reach $2.1 billion, the fourth consecutive month in 2013 with remittances exceeding the $2-billion mark.

"The sustained expansion in remittance flows during the period was driven largely by the 5.2 percent growth in transfers from land-based (OFWs) with work contracts of one year or more, whose remittances comprised about three-fourths (75.2 percent) of the total," BSP said.

The central bank said remittances coursed through banks similarly grew by 5.8 percent to $12.6 billion. Remittances from sea-based worker expanded by 7.8 percent to $3 billion while those from land-based workers reached $9.6 billion.

"The major sources of cash remittances were the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Canada and Japan," BSP added.

The central bank noted that the steady deployment of OFWs remained the major driver of remittance growth, with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration reporting 495,304 approved job orders from the first seven months of the year. Thirty-seven percent of these came from job orders for  services, production, professional, technical and related workers, the state agency noted.

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"The job orders were mainly intended for the manpower requirements in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Taiwan, Qatar, and Hong Kong.  Moreover, efforts of bank and non-bank remittance service providers to expand their international and domestic market coverage and to introduce innovations in their remittance products continue to provide support to the sustained flow of remittances into the country," BSP said.

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