OFW remittances up 7.2% to new record $20.12B in 2011

Published by rudy Date posted on February 15, 2012

Remittances by overseas Filipinos workers (OFWs) reached a new record $20.117 billion last year, up $1.254 billion from $18.763 billion in 2010, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas officer-in-charge Juan de Zuñiga noted in a statement Wednesday.

Money transfers from Filipinos abroad accounted for about 9 percent of gross domestic product, and were a significant contributor to economic growth by stimulating domestic consumption, De Zuñiga said.

Sea-based workers transferred 14 percent more money to the Philippines, and land-based sent 5 percent more to their relatives in the country, according to central bank records.

Still, land-based workers accounted for 78.4 percent of the total remittances.

“Remittances remained resilient throughout the year amid the political turmoil in some parts of the MENA states, the slowdown in global economic growth and intensified financial strains brought about by the Euro area sovereign debt crisis,” De Zuñiga said.

Last December, remittances climbed by 6.2 percent from a year earlier to a new monthly record level of $1.799 billion, which exceeded the monthly record high of $1.783 billion last November, the Bangko Sentral noted.

The full-year growth of 7.2 percent overran the 7-percent revised growth target, De Zuniga said.

A combination of more diverse destinations and skills of OFWs, a more strategic network of bank and non-bank service providers, and new financial products and money transfer services offered in the remittance market, helped grow remittances last year, according to the BSP official said.

As of end-December 2011, there were 3.1 percent more tie-ups — 4,723 from 4,581 — of commercial banks, remittance centers, correspondent banks, branches, and representative offices, according to central bank data.

Most of remittances came from the US, Canada, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, Japan, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Italy, Germany, and Norway, De Zuñiga noted.

The BSP sees remittances slowing down to 5 percent or $21.1 billion this year. — VS, GMA News

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