Money sent home by Filipinos working overseas rebounded with a 5.2-percent growth in July, following a 4.5-percent decline in June, as workers took advantage of the stronger value of the US dollar.
Data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas showed that remittances hit $2.401 billion in July, up from $2.283 billion a year ago. This was supported by sustained growth in remittances both from sea-based and land-based workers.
The peso averaged 53.43 against the US dollar in July, up from 53 per greenback in June and 50.64 a year earlier.
Cash remittances from land-based workers grew 4.5 percent to $1.9 billion, while those from sea-based workers jumped 7.8 percent to $511 million. The primary contributors to the growth in cash remittances in July were the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany.
This brought cash remittances in the first seven months to $16.58 billion, up 3 percent from $16.095 billion in the same period last year. Cash remittances from land-based and sea-based workers totaled $13.1 billion and $3.5 billion, respectively.
More than 79 percent of the cash remittances in January to July came from the US, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Japan, the UK, Qatar, Canada, Germany, and Hong Kong.
Personal remittances, which include non-cash items, grew 4.5 percent in July to $2.675 billion from $2.559 billion a year ago. This put personal remittances in the first seven months at $18.462 billion, or 3 percent higher than $17.923 billion a year earlier.
British lender Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp. said remittances would likely recover in the coming months, after the government lifted the deployment ban to some countries in the Middle East.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier ordered the repatriation of thousands of OFWs from Kuwait where they were allegedly maltreated. Duterte appealed to OFWs in Kuwait to return to the country after Kuwait expelled the Philippine ambassador for launching rescue missions for Filipinos abused by their employers in the Gulf state.
Remittances reached a record $28.06 billion in 2017, up 4.3 percent from $26.90 billion in 2016. It also exceeded the Bangko Sentral’s conservative 4-percent growth target for the year.
The Bangko Sentral projected a 4-percent growth for remittances in 2018.