Money sent home by Filipinos working overseas increased 6.6 percent in January to $2.65 billion from $2.48 billion a year ago, driven by the sustained strength in land-based and sea-based remittances, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said Monday.
“This increase was due to the rise in remittances from both land-based [$2.1 billion] and sea-based [$0.55 billion] workers, which rose 7.4 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively,” the BSP said in a statement.
The United States registered the highest share of overall remittances at 38.6 percent. It was followed by Japan, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Canada, Hong Kong and Korea.
The combined remittances from these countries accounted for almost 80 percent of total cash remittances.
Personal remittances, which include non-cash items, also increased by 7.3 percent in January 2020 to $2.94 billion from $2.75 billion in January 2019.
Personal remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more rose 7.4 percent to $2.27 billion from $2.12 billion in January 2019.
Meanwhile, personal remittances from sea-based and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year rose by 3.9 percent to $600 million from $580 million from a year ago.
Cash remittances rose 4.1 percent in 2019 to an all-time high of $30.133 billion from $28.94 billion in 2018 and surpassed the conservative 3-percent growth target set by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas for the year.
The BSP said the growth of cash remittances was fueled by higher flows from both land and sea-based workers, amounting to $23.6 billion (an increase of 3.5 percent) and $6.5 billion (an increase of 6.5 percent), respectively.
“Notwithstanding pockets of political uncertainties across the globe, cash remittances in 2019 remained strong. This is evident in inward remittances from Asia, the Americas, and Africa, where inflows grew annually by 12.3 percent, 10.6 percent and 4.8 percent, respectively,” the BSP said.
“The growth of inflows in these regions more than made up for the 9.8-percent decline in remittances from the Middle East,” it said.