Personal and Cash Remittances Reach New Record Highs in December 2013

Manila—(PHStocks)—Personal remittances from overseas Filipinos (OFs) registered a new record high of $2.4 billion in December 2013, up by 12.5 percent relative to the level posted in the same month last year. This marks the ninth consecutive month in 2013 that personal remittances breached the $2 billion mark, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. announced.

As a result, full-year personal remittances from OFs reached $25.1 billion in 2013, higher by 7.6 percent than the previous year’s level. The sustained rise in personal remittances during the year was driven by the robust growth in remittances of land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more (6.1 percent) and transfers of sea-based workers and land-based workers with short-term contracts (7.8 percent).

Similarly, cash remittances from OFs coursed through banks reached the highest level to date of $2.2 billion in December 2013, representing a 9.1 percent increase from the level registered in the same period a year ago. For full-year 2013, cash remittances posted a 6.4 percent increase to reach $22.8 billion, exceeding the BSP’s projection of five percent growth for the year. Cash transfers from both land-based and sea-based workers grew by 6 percent and 7.9 percent, respectively. Moreover, cash remittances from land-based workers accounted for more than three-fourths (77.1 percent) of total cash transfers. The major sources of cash remittances were the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Canada, and Japan.

The solid growth of remittances from OFs remains supportive of economic activity, with cash remittances accounting for 8.4 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2013. Remittances remained robust on the back of strong demand for skilled Filipino manpower abroad, particularly in the Middle East.  Preliminary data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) indicated that the number of deployed OF workers for the year reached 1.8 million.  Moreover, the POEA reported that approved job orders totaled 793,415 for 2013, of which about two-fifths (40.9 percent) were processed job orders mainly for services, production, and professional, technical, and related workers. These job orders were intended for the manpower requirements of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Qatar. Meanwhile, the continued presence of financial service providers in foreign countries that cater to the various needs of OFs facilitated sustained remittance flows. As of end-December 2013, commercial banks’ established tie-ups, remittance centers, correspondent banks, and branches/representative offices abroad reached 4,740.

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