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Remittances climb 13% in April
BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said personal remittances posted a double-digit growth of 13.1 percent or $2.57 billion in April from $2.27 billion in the same month last year.
STAR/KJ Rosales, file

Remittances climb 13% in April

Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) - June 16, 2021 - 12:00am

Fastest growth in 4 years

MANILA, Philippines — Remittances sent home by overseas Filipino workers rose for the third straight month in April, recording their fastest growth in more than four years as OFW deployment accelerated amid the easing of travel restrictions as host countries ramp up COVID-19 vaccination, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported yesterday.

BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said personal remittances posted a double-digit growth of 13.1 percent or $2.57 billion in April from $2.27 billion in the same month last year.

The latest growth rate was the highest since the 18.4 percent increase recorded in November 2016. In absolute amount, however, this was the lowest since the $2.34 billion recorded in May last year.

Personal remittances cover all current transfers in cash or in kind by OFWs, as well as other household-to-household transfers between Filipinos who have migrated abroad and their families in the Philippines.

Diokno said the increase in personal remittances was attributed to the strong 15.2 percent growth in remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more to $1.93 billion in April from the $1.68 billion a year ago.

The BSP chief said remittances from sea-based workers and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year also rose by nearly five percent to $574 million from $547 million.

From January to April, the BSP chief said personal remittances increased by 5.1 percent to $11.03 billion from $10.49 billion in the same period last year.

Likewise, Diokno reported a 12.7 percent increase in cash remittances coursed through banks, to $2.3 billion in April from $2.05 billion in the same month last year.

This was the also the fastest since the 18.5 percent expansion recorded in November 2016. However, this was the lowest amount in terms of absolute value in 11 months or since the $2.11 billion recorded in May last year.

He said cash remittances from land-based workers increased by 15.2 percent to $1.78 billion from $1.54 billion, while those from sea-based workers rose by 4.9 percent to $526 million from $501 million.

Year-to-date, he said cash remittances went up by 4.8 percent to $9.9 billion from $9.45 billion in the same period last year.

“The growth in cash remittances for January to April came largely from the US, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea,” Diokno said.

He also said the US accounted for the bulk or 40.3 percent of the total cash remittances in the first four months, followed by Singapore, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, South Africa, Qatar and Taiwan.

The BSP expects OFW remittances recovering this year with a four percent growth after slumping by 0.8 percent in 2020 from record-high levels in 2019.

Remittances remained resilient despite the massive displacement of OFWs as host countries were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) has extended assistant to some 592,000 OFWs who have returned home since the repatriation started in May last year.

Michael Ricafort, chief economist at Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., said the higher growth in remittances could be attributed to low base or denominator as the entire Luzon was under enhanced community quarantine in April last year.

Ricafort said the increase reflects faster economic rebound in some major host countries for OFWs around the world as increased COVID-19 vaccine rollouts helped reduce new cases leading to stronger economic recovery and creating new jobs.

OFW REMITTANCES
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