Dollars sent home by expatriate Filipinos rose in May thanks to strong remittances from overseas workers with long term employment contracts, maintaining the slow but steady growth path that began last year, the latest central bank figures showed.
In a statement, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said personal remittances from Filipinos working or based abroad increased by 5.5 per cent year-on-year to $2.9 billion in May from $2.7 billion during the same month last year.
This brought the total remittances for the first five months of this year to $13.7 billion, higher by 4.1 per cent compared to the $13.2 billion posted in the same period last year, said the central bank’s governor Benjamin Diokno.
“The steady growth in personal remittances during the first five months of 2019 drew support from the remittance inflows from land-based overseas Filipino workers (OFW) with work contracts of one year or more, which aggregated to $10.5 billion from $10.2 billion in the same period last year,” he said.
Inflows from the compensation of sea-based workers and land-based workers with short-term contracts also contributed to this growth and totalled $2.9 billion from $2.7 billion a year ago.
Meanwhile, cash remittances from abroad coursed through banks – which counts only wages sent home by expatriate workers, and excludes funds sent home by non-OFW Filipinos — in May amounted to $2.6 billion, up by 5.7 per cent year-on-year from the $2.5 billion recorded in the same period last year.
This brought cash remittances for the January-May period to $12.3 billion, 4.5 per cent higher than the $11.8 billion recorded in the same period last year.
In particular, cash remittances from land-based and sea-based workers increased by 3.2 per cent at $9.7 billion and 9.2 per cent at $2.7 billion, respectively, during the first five months of this year.
By country source, the US registered the highest share of overall remittances for the first five months of the year at 36 per cent. It was followed by Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the UAE, the UK, Japan, Canada, Hong Kong, Qatar and Kuwait. The combined remittances from these countries accounted for 78 per cent of total cash remittances from January to May.
The central bank pointed out that it was common for remittance centres to course dollars sent home by Filipinos in various cities abroad through US-based correspondent banks.
As such, the US would often appear to be the main source of overseas remittances because banks attribute the origin of funds to the most immediate source. PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER