Remittances up 6.4% to $22.76 B in ’13

Kathleen A. Martin (The Philippine Star) - February 18, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Remittances from Filipinos working and living abroad grew faster than expected in 2013, hitting a new record high of  $22.76 billion from $21.391 billion in 2012, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas reported yesterday.

Last year’s figure represented a growth rate of  6.4 percent from a year ago, surpassing the BSP’s  five-percent growth target.  It also accounted for 8.4 percent of the country’s total economic output for 2013.

“The solid growth of remittances from OFs (overseas Filipinos) remains supportive of economic activity, with cash remittances accounting for 8.4 percent of the country’s gross domestic product in 2013,” the BSP said in a statement.

For December alone, a new monthly record of $2.155 billion was recorded. 

The BSP said cash transfers from land-based workers, which made up 77.1 percent of   total remittances, grew   six percent in 2013 while those from  sea-based workers  were  up 7.9 percent.

Cash remittances largely came from the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Canada, and Japan.

“Remittances remained robust on the back of strong demand for skilled Filipino manpower abroad, particularly in the Middle East,” the BSP said.

Citing data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, the central bank said 1.8 million Filipino workers were deployed abroad in 2013.

Approved job orders hit 793,415 last year, the bulk or 40.9 percent of which were for services; production; and professional, technical, and related works.

“These job orders were intended for the manpower requirements of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Qatar,” the BSP said.

At the same time, the BSP said the continued expansion of financial service providers abroad to facilitate overseas Filipinos’ remittances contributed to the growth of money sent home to the Philippines.

Tie-ups, remittance centers, correspondent banks, and branches or offices of local banks abroad have already reached 4,740 as of end-2013, the central bank said.

Moreover, the BSP earlier said recent natural calamities that hit the country late last year such as Typhoons Santi and Yolanda, and the 7.4-magnitude earthquake will further increase cash remittances until early this year.

The  economy grew 7.2 percent last year, surpassing market and government expectations.

The government  expects the economy to grow by 6.5 to 7.5 percent this year.

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