Money sent home by Filipinos working overseas jumped 12.7 percent in April to $2.305 billion from $2.046 billion a year ago, the fastest monthly growth since April 2018, showing the resilience of remittances amid the prolonged impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said Tuesday.
The April figures brought cash remittances in the first four months to $9.898 billion, up 4.8 percent from $9.448 billion recorded in the same period last year.
“The growth in cash remittances for January to April 2021 came largely from the United States, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea,” the BSP said in a statement.
The US registered the highest share of overall remittances at 40.3 percent in the four-month period, followed by Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, South Korea, Qatar and Taiwan.
The combined remittances from these countries accounted for 78.1 percent of total cash remittances.
Personal remittances, which include non-cash items, also grew 13.1 percent in April to $2.574 billion from $2.276 billion a year earlier, the fastest monthly expansion since November 2016.
This brought the cumulative personal remittances in the first four months to $11.028 billion, up 5.1 percent from $10.494 billion a year ago.
“In particular, personal remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more rose by 15.2 percent during the month of April to $1.931 billion from $1.677 billion in April 2020,” the BSP said.
Meanwhile, remittances from sea-based workers and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year also increased by 4.9 percent to $574 million from $547 million.
Data showed that in 2020, cash remittances showed signs of recovery amid the pandemic, declining by just 0.8 percent to reach $29.903 billion from a record $30.133 billion in 2019. This was stronger than the BSP’s earlier projection of a 2-percent contraction for the year.
By country source, cash remittances from Saudi Arabia, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Germany and Kuwait declined, while those from the United States, Singapore, Canada, Hong Kong, Qatar, South Korea and Taiwan increased.
Personal remittances also declined by 0.8 percent in 2020 to $33.194 billion from $33.467 billion in 2019.
The BSP expects remittances to grow by 4 percent in 2021.