Remittances continued to rise in 2023, following a 3.6-percent growth in 2022 that supported the recovery of the economy.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said Wednesday cash remittances went up 3.5 percent in January to $2.76 billion from $2.67 billion a year ago. The growth was slower than the 5.8-percent expansion in December 2022 as overseas Filipino workers usually send more money during the holiday season.
“The growth in cash remittances from the United States, Saudi Arabia, Japan and Singapore contributed largely to the increase in remittances in January 2023. Meanwhile, in terms of country sources, the US posted the highest share of overall remittances during the said month, followed by Singapore, Japan, and Saudi Arabia,” the BSP said.
Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. chief economist Michael Ricafort said cash remittances in January were still “near record highs [after $3.16 billion in December 2022] as the economy reopened towards greater normalcy during the holiday season.”
Ricafort said the sustained growth in remittances in recent months also reflected faster economic recovery in some major host countries for OFWs around the world that enabled more of them to work again.
“The continued growth in remittances may [also] be attributed to the relatively higher inflation that may have required the sending of more remittances to cope up with higher prices,” he said.
Inflation in December reached 8.1 percent and accelerated further to 8.7 percent in January 2023 before easing a bit to 8.6 percent in February.
Personal remittances, which include non-cash items, amounted to $3.07 billion in January or 3.5 percent higher than $2.97 billion in the same month last year.
“The increase in personal remittances in January 2023 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.
Cash remittances in 2022 hit a record $32.54 billion, up from $31.42 billion in 2021 on sustained demand for skilled Filipino workers overseas.