Remittances ease to $3 billion in November

Louise Maureen Simeon - The Philippine Star
Remittances ease to $3 billion in November
A teller displays US dollars at a money exchange market in Nairobi on November 20, 2023.
Simon Maina / AFP

MANILA, Philippines — Remittances sent home by Filipinos abroad eased to $3 billion in November 2023, reaching their lowest level in six months despite the holiday season.

Data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed that personal remittances – the sum of net compensation of employees, personal transfers, and capital transfers between households – amounted to just $3.02 billion in November 2023.

This is 2.9 percent higher than the $2.93 billion in the same period in 2022, but slower than the 3.1-percent expansion recorded in October 2023.

The latest remittance figure was also the lowest recorded in six months or since the $2.78 billion in May 2023.

Nonetheless, the BSP said the slight increase was brought about by the 2.8 percent improvement in remittances sent by land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more, to $2.3 billion.

Similarly, remittances from sea and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year also grew by three percent to $600 million.

For the 11-month period of 2023, personal remittances inched up by 2.9 percent to $33.59 billion from $32.65 billion in the same period in 2022.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. chief economist Michael Ricafort said remittances tended to go down month-on-month in November, for most years over the past 10 to 20 years due to seasonality.

But Ricafort said remittances likely increased during the last month of 2023, especially within a week before Christmas to finance the surge in holiday-related spending.

“For the coming months, modest growth in OFW remittances could still continue as OFW families still need to cope with higher prices locally,” Ricafort said.

Cash remittances coursed through banks also improved by 2.8 percent to $2.72 billion in November 2023 from $2.64 billion a year ago. The expansion was due to the growth in receipts from land- and sea-based workers.

Cash remittances from land-based workers increased by 2.9 percent to $2.1 billion while the amount sent home by sea-based workers went up by 2.6 percent to $600 million.

From January to November 2023, cash remittances picked up by 2.8 percent to reach $30.21 billion from the 2022 level of $29.38 billion.

“The growth in cash remittances from the United States, Saudi Arabia and Singapore contributed mainly to the increase in remittances in the 11 months of 2023,” the BSP said.

As to overall remittances for the 11-month period, the US topped the list with a share of 41.2 percent, followed by Singapore with 6.9 percent and Saudi Arabia with six percent.

Other top sources include Japan, the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Qatar, Taiwan and South Korea.

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