Money sent home by Filipinos working overseas rose for a second straight month, growing by 7.8 percent in July to $2.783 billion from $2.581 billion a year ago, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said Tuesday.
It was the highest volume in seven months and marked the fastest growth in nine months, data from the BSP showed. Cash remittances went up by 7.7 percent in June to $2.465 billion.
This brought total cash remittances in the first seven months to $16.802 billion, down by 2.4 percent from $17.219 billion a year ago.
The BSP said the 7.8-percent growth in July was led by the 12.6-percent increase in land-based workers remittances, but was slightly tempered by the 9.2-percent decrease in sea-based workers’ remittances.
“Cash remittances from land-based and sea-based workers continued to be lower than their levels in 2019 by 1.5 percent to $13.232 billion from $13.429 billion, and 5.8 percent to $3.57 billion from $3.789 billion, respectively,” the BSP said.
Remittances from the United States, Japan, Singapore, Qatar and Taiwan continued to grow, while those from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Germany, Kuwait and the UK declined.
ING Bank Manila senior economist Nicholas Mapa said OFWs defied expectations for a second straight month of growth.
“Most analysts had expected remittance flows to contract given challenging labor market conditions in host countries and given the fact that more than 170,000 OFs have returned to the Philippines over the course of the past few months,” Mapa said.
Personal remittances which include non-cash items also grew by 7.6 percent in July to $3.085 billion from $2.867 billion a year ago. This brought personal remittances in the first seven months to $18.658 billion, down 2.4 percent from $19.119 billion in the same period last year.
“The growth was attributed to the 12.6-percent increase in remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more to $2.467 billion in July 2020 from $2.192 billion in July 2019,” the BSP said.
Remittances from sea-based workers fell by 9.2 percent from $613 million posted a year ago to $557 million in July 2020 following the repatriation of thousands of sea-based workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The BSP earlier estimated a 5-percent decline in remittances this year. Last year, cash remittances rose 4.1 percent to hit a record $30.133 billion from $28.94 billion in 2018.