Remittances climbed 3.9 percent in April from a year ago, the fastest expansion in five months, on the sustained deployment of Filipino workers overseas as most economies showed recovery from the global health crisis, data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas show Wednesday.
The BSP said cash remittances reached $2.395 billion in April, up from $2.305 billion in the same month last year. The April figure, however, was lower than the $2.6 billion registered in March.
The latest figure brought total cash remittances in the first four months to $10.167 billion, up 2.7 percent from $9.898 billion in the same period in 2021.
“The expansion in cash remittances was due to the growth in receipts from land-based and sea-based workers, which increased by 4.7 percent to $1.863 billion from $1.779 billion and 1.4 percent to $533 million from $526 million, respectively,” the BSP said in a statement.
“The growth in cash remittances from the United States, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Taiwan and Singapore contributed largely to the increase in remittances in the January-to-April period,” it said.
Data showed the US registered the highest share of overall remittances at 41.2 percent in the first four months, followed by Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Qatar, South Korea and Taiwan. The combined remittances from these 10 countries accounted for 79.2 percent of total cash remittances during the period.
Personal remittances, which include non-cash items, also went up by 3.8 percent in April to $2.671 billion from $2.574 billion a year earlier. The four-month personal remittances amounted to $11.317 billion, up 2.6 percent from $11.028 billion a year ago.
“The increase in personal remittances in April was due to remittances sent by land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more, which increased by 4.7 percent to $2.022 billion from $1.931 billion in the same month last year, and sea- and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year, which grew by 1.4 percent to $581 million from $574 million a year ago.
Cash remittances hit a record $31.418 billion in 2021, up 5.1 percent from $29.903 billion in 2020. The 5.1-percent expansion missed the 6-percent growth target for the year but it was a significant improvement from the 0.8-percent contraction in 2020 at the height of the pandemic.
The BSP expects remittances to rise 4 percent in 2022, consistent with the long-term growth trend.
It said among the factors underpinning the strength of remittances are the increased global demand for OFWs, particularly medical practitioners, health care workers and skilled labor in construction and housekeeping and the bilateral labor agreements forged by the Department of Labor and Employment with host countries to continue allowing the entry of OFWs.
The BSP said other reasons are the increased use of digital financial services in remittance transfers that would reinforce the upward trend of digital adoption in both domestic and cross-border transactions.
Remittances accounted for about 8 percent to 9 percent of nominal gross domestic product in recent years. They were also equivalent to 32 percent to 37 percent of income from exports of goods and services and 26 percent to 37 percent of gross international reserves.