Money sent home by Filipinos working overseas declined 0.9 percent in August to $2.476 billion from $2.499 billion a year ago, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said Monday.
The figure brought cash remittances in the first eight months to $19.057 billion, up by 2.5 percent from $18.595 billion registered in the same period last year.
BSP Deputy Governor and officer-in-charge Maria Almasara Cyd Tuaño-Amador said in a statement the countries that contributed to the decline in August were the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.
She said cash remittances sent by land-based workers on a cumulative basis rose 2.1 percent to $15.1 billion, while transfers from sea-based workers grew 3.8 percent to $4 billion.
More than 79 percent of the total cash remittances in the first eight months of 2018 came from the United States, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Singapore, Japan, the United Kingdom, Qatar, Canada, Germany, and Hong Kong.
Personal remittances, which include non-cash items, also declined 1.4 percent in August to $2.76 billion from $2.80 billion a year earlier.
This brought personal remittances to $21.223 billion in the first eight months, up 2.4 percent from $20.723 billion a year ago.
ING Bank senior economist Nicholas Mapa said remittances remained a stable source of foreign exchange to the Philippines.
“The contraction in year-on-year terms shows that the seasonality in remittances continues to shift, mainly due to school year changes as well as to possible late payments to workers. Nuances in exchange rates may have also caused the discrepancy given yearly growth rates,” Mapa said.
“Going forward, annual and year-to-date growth rates are still seen to average around 3 percent,” Mapa said.
British banking and financial giant Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp. said it was expecting remittances to recover in the months ahead after the government lifted the deployment ban to some countries in the Middle East.
President Rodrigo Duterte early this year 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.