OFW inflows surge to 6-month high

Published by rudy Date posted on August 16, 2013

MANILA, Philippines – Remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) reached a six-month high in June due to a continued strong demand for skilled Filipinos abroad.

Citing preliminary data, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said cash remittances amounted to $1.916 billion in June, up 5.8 percent from last year’s $1.811 billion.

The June tally was the highest since the $1.975 billion recorded in December 2012.

For the first semester, the central bank said cash remittances already reached $10.7 billion, an improvement of 5.6 percent from a year ago. The BSP has a five-percent growth forecast for the year.

A separate gauge called personal remittances- which include hand carry money transfers as well as products brought abroad – rose 5.7 percent in June and 6.2 percent in the first half.

“Remittances remained robust partly on the back of continued increase in demand for skilled Filipinos abroad,” BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said.

“The steady stream of remittances also drew continued support from the efficient network of bank and non-bank remittance channels established worldwide,” he added.

According to the BSP, about three-fourths of cash remittances came from the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Canada, Singapore and Japan.

Land-based workers sent more money back home than seafarers, data showed. As of June, land-based workers repatriated a total of $8.2 billion, while seafarers brought in $2.5 billion. Both were up 7.4 percent and 5.1 percent, respectively.

Tetangco said remittances could continue expanding in the months ahead, citing data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) that showed continued deployment of workers overseas.

Last year, POEA data showed a total of 1.802 million OFWs were deployed to various countries, up 6.8 percent from the previous year. About 80 percent of those were land-based workers.

Majority of new hires were employed in Singapore, UAE and Saudi Arabia- which were among the top sources of remittances- as well as Hong Kong and Qatar.

Aside from boosting OFW families’ purchasing power, remittances also contribute to the country’s balance of payments (BOP) position, which gauges the economy’s capacity to settle foreign debts and trade obligations. –Prinz P. Magtulis (The Philippine Star)

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