Personal remittances from overseas Filipinos (OFs) registered a new record high of $3.2 billion in December 2018, higher by 3.6% compared to the level posted in the same month last year, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Nestor A. Espenilla Jr. announced today. Further, personal remittances, which grew by 3% year-on-year, reached $32.2 billion in 2018, the highest annual level to date.
The growth in personal remittances during the year was driven by remittance inflows from land-based OFs with work contracts of one year or more and remittances from both sea-based and land-based OFs with work contracts of less than one year, which rose annually by 2.8% and 4.6%, respectively. Personal remittances is a major driver of domestic consumption and, in 2018, it accounted for 9.7% of gross domestic product (GDP) and 8.1% of the gross national income (GNI).
Similarly, cash remittances in December 2018 grew markedly by 3.9% year-on-year to reach an all-time high of $2.8 billion. The countries that contributed most to the increase during the month were the United States (US) and Canada. Full year cash remittances registered a 3.1% growth to reach $28.9 billion. The growth in cash remittances was supported by the transfers from both land-based and sea-based OF workers, which grew by 2.8% and 4.6% from last year’s levels, respectively.
Cash remittances in 2018 remained strong amid political uncertainties across the globe. This is evident in Asia, the Americas, and Europe, which grew annually by 12.3%, 9.7% and 7.7%, respectively. The growth in these regions made up for the 15.3% decrease in remittances from the Middle East (partly due to the continued repatriation program of the government).
By country source, the bulk of cash remittances for the year came from the US, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Japan, the United Kingdom, Qatar, Canada, Germany, and Hong Kong. Cash remittances from these countries accounted for almost 79% of total cash remittances