Money sent home by Filipinos working overseas tumbled 16.2 percent in April from a year ago, as many countries imposed border restrictions and sent home thousands of migrant workers and cruise ship crew amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas showed that cash remittances amounted to $2.046 billion in April, the lowest monthly figure in more than four years or since it settled at $2 billion in January 2016. It was down from $2.397 billion in March and $2.441 billion in April 2019.
"The decline in cash remittances was attributed to the unexpected repatriation of some OFs deployed in countries heavily affected by the pandemic, and temporary closure/limited operating hours of some banks and institutions from both the sending and receiving ends that provide money transfer services during the lockdown," the Bangko Sentral said in a statement.
It said cash remittances in the first four months also declined by 3 percent to $9.448 billion from $9.739 billion registered in the same period last year.
"This developed as remittances of both land-based and sea-based workers, fell by 3.5 percent (to $7.335 billion from $7.597 billion) and 1.3 percent (to $2.114 billion from $2.142 billion), respectively," the Bangko Sentral said.
Meanwhile, personal remittances, which also include non-cash items, also went down by 16.1 percent in April to $2.276 billion from $2.713 billion a year ago.
This brought the cumulative personal remittances in the first four months to $10.494 billion, down by 2.9 percent from $10.811 billion recorded in the comparable period in 2019.
Personal remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more declined 17.9 percent in April to $1.677 billion from $2.043 billion a year earlier.
Remittances from sea-based workers and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year fell by 10.2 percent to US$547 million in April from $609 million in the same month last year.
By country source, the United States remained to top source of remittances, followed by Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Canada, Qatar, Hong Kong and Korea.