Remittances grew 3.6 percent in 2022 to a record $32.54 billion from $31.42 billion in 2021 on sustained demand for skilled Filipino workers overseas as global economies continued to recover from the impact of the pandemic, latest data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas show.
The full-year remittances growth, however, missed the official target of 4 percent set by the Bangko Sentral.
The growth in cash remittances from the United States, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Qatar and the United Kingdom contributed largely to the increase in remittances from January to December 2022. In terms of country sources, the US posted the highest share of overall remittances in 2022.
Data showed that in December 2022, cash remittances coursed through banks went up by 5.8 percent to an all-time high of $3.16 billion from $2.99 billion a year earlier, as receipts from both land- and sea-based workers registered strong growth.
Personal remittances, which include non-cash items, also reached a record $36.14 billion in 2022, which was 3.6 percent higher than $34.88 billion in 2021.
“The robust inward remittances reflected the increasing demand for foreign workers amid the reopening of economies,” the Bangko Sentral said in a statement.
The full-year 2022 level accounted for 8.9 percent and 8.4 percent of the country’s gross domestic product and gross national income, respectively.
Personal remittances in December hit $3.49 billion, up by 5.7 percent from $3.30 billion recorded in December 2021.
“The increase in personal remittances in December 2022 was due to higher remittances sent by land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more, and sea- and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year,” the BSP said.
Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. chief economist Michael Ricafort said the increased holiday spending in December, with no COVID restrictions compared to the previous years, led to more remittances in the latter part of the year.
“The sending of more remittances are also needed to cope up with higher inflation locally,” Ricafort said. Inflation reached 8.1 percent in December and accelerated further to 8.7 percent in January.
Ricafort said the continued growth in remittances reflected faster economic recovery in some major host countries for OFWs.
Studies earlier showed that Philippine remittances were consistently the fourth largest in the world after those of India, China and Mexico.
The Philippines is among the biggest suppliers of nurses, accounting for at least 20 percent of the total globally. It is also the biggest supplier of seafarers worldwide, with about 20 percent to 25 percent of the total around the world.
The deployment of OFWs has become more diversified over the years to include more countries worldwide, especially those outside the traditionally biggest host countries.
The Bangko Sentral expects remittances to rise 4 percent in 2023.