Remittances from Filipinos working overseas climbed 13.1 percent in May to $2.382 billion from $2.106 billion a year ago, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said Tuesday.
It said the 13.1-percent expansion was the fastest since the 18.5-percent growth in November 2016.
“This was due to the 16.2-percent and 2.7-percent increase in receipts from land-based workers [to $1.894 billion from $1.631 billion] and sea-based workers [to $488 million from $475 million], respectively,” the BSP said in a statement.
The May figures brought cash remittances in the first five months to $12.28 billion, or 6.3 percent higher than $11.554 billion in the same period last year.
“The growth in cash remittances from the United States, Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore, and Canada contributed largely to the increase in remittances in January to May 2021,” the BSP said.
Data showed the US registered the highest share of overall remittances at 40.1 percent, followed by Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, South Korea, Qatar and Taiwan. The combined remittances from these 10 countries accounted for 78.3 percent of cash remittances.
Personal remittances which include non-cash items also increased by 13.3 percent to $2.652 billion in May from $2.341 billion a year earlier, also the fastest since the 18.4-percent rise in November 2016.
This brought the cumulative personal remittances to $13.68 billion in the first five months, a 6.6-percent rise from the $12.835 billion recorded in the same period in 2020.
Personal remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more rose 16.2 percent in May to $2.056 billion from $1.77 billion in May 2020.
Remittances from sea-based workers and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year also increased by 2.7 percent to $532 million from $519 million a year ago.
Cash remittances slightly declined by 0.8 percent to $29.903 billion amid the pandemic in 2020 from the record $30.133 billion in 2019.
The BSP expects cash remittances to grow by 4 percent to reach a new record this year, taking into account the brighter global outlook amid the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and reopening of major economies.
Remittances account for about a tenth of the gross national income and support various industries in the Philippines, including banking, real estate, automotive, transportation, travel and tourism, hotel, food retail, health care and education.