MANILA, Philippines - Remittances – both cash and non-cash – hit $10 billion in the first five months of the year due to the steady growth in remittance flows from both land-based and sea-based workers, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas reported yesterday.
Central bank data showed personal remittances surged 6.1 percent to $10.404 billion in the first five months of the year from $9.809 billion in the same period last year.
“The sustained expansion in personal remittances during the first five months of 2014 was underpinned by the steady growth in remittance flows from both land-based workers with long-term contracts and sea-based and land-based workers with short-term contracts,” the BSP said.
For May alone, personal remittances went up 5.5 percent to $2.195 billion from $2.081 billion a year ago.
The central bank said remittances coursed through banks went up by 5.4 percent to $1.980 billion in May, while the five-month tally increased by 5.7 percent to $9.372 billion.
Cash remittances from land-based workers grew by five percent to $7.1 billion as of May, while those coming from sea-based workers rose 8.1 percent to $2.3 billion.
The bulk of the remittances were sent from the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Japan, and Hong Kong, the central bank noted.
“The steady deployment of OF workers remained a key driver in the sustained growth in remittance flows,” the BSP said.
Citing data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, the central bank said job orders reached 371,097 in the five months to May.
These were primarily for service, production, and professional, technical, and related jobs in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Taiwan, and Qatar.
At the same time, the sustained expansion of remittance service providers abroad have supported the increase in remittances during the period.
Remittances play a big role in supporting domestic consumption, which remains to be the largest driver of the Philippine economy.
Last year, cash remittances surged 7.4 percent to $22.968 billion, the highest annual level ever recorded by the central bank. Personal remittances, meanwhile, grew 8.6 percent to $25.351 billion.
The BSP hopes to grow cash remittances by five percent this year from the 2013 figure.