Remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) reached $15 billion during the first 11 months of 2008, up 15 percent from the same period in 2007, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported yesterday.
Dollar inflow in November reached $1.3 billion, 10.5 percent higher than remittances recorded over the same month of 2007.
The BSP said the cumulative total remittances in November was only $1.3 billion short of the $16.3-billion level that the central bank expects to be remitted for the whole of 2008.
“The steady stream of remittances from overseas Filipinos continues to provide the economy with much-needed foreign exchange liquidity in the midst of a challenging external environment,” said BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr.
According to Tetangco, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) is still reporting an increase in the deployment of workers overseas and in the first 11 months of 2008, it increased by 24.4 percent.
Tetangco said that based on POEA data, about 90 percent of newly-hired overseas workers in the first 10 months consisted of professionals and skilled workers.
Tetangco said the deployment was concentrated in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait and Hong Kong.
The BSP had projected remittances from overseas Filipinos would reach almost $17 billion in 2008, the highest level since the country started sending workers abroad.
The BSP said the actual level is projected at $16.9 billion at the end of the year, including both remittances that go through banks and remittances that go through other remittance channels.
The BSP said remittances that go through banks are projected to reach $16.3 percent, about 13 percent higher than remittances that went through banks in 2007.
The BSP expected record inflows to have continued in November and December as workers sent more money home to their families in preparation for the holiday season.
The global economic slowdown is also expected to bring down remittances this year, with fewer workers going abroad and more workers coming back from their jobs overseas.
But Tetangco said the government expects the decline in hiring to be mitigated by strong labor demand in non-traditional labor markets such as Canada, Bulgaria, Australia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
Tetangco said the government had signed agreements with various provinces in Canada and with Qatar for more labor opportunities overseas.–Des Ferriols, Philippine Star