Money sent home by Filipinos working abroad increased 5.1 percent in August to $2.609 billion from $2.483 billion in the same month last year, as global economies reopened and gradually recovered from the impact of the pandemic, latest data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas show.
“The growth in cash remittances was due to the increase in remittances from land-based workers and sea-based workers, which rose by 4.1 percent to $2.032 billion from $1.952 billion, and 8.6 percent to $577 million from $531 million, respectively,” the BSP said in a statement Friday.
This brought cash remittances in the first eight months to $20.38 billion, up by 5.7 percent from $19.285 billion a year ago.
“The growth in cash remittances from the United States, Malaysia and South Korea contributed largely to the increase in remittances in January-August 2021,” the BSP said.
Remittances, which represent nearly a tenth of the gross national income, support the growth of various sectors such as banking, transportation, retail, real estate, education, healthcare and automotive in the Philippines.
Data showed that in terms of country sources, the US registered the highest share of overall remittances at 40.7 percent in the first eight months, followed by Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, South Korea, Qatar and Taiwan. The combined remittances from these top ten countries accounted for 78.8 percent of total cash remittances.
Personal remittances, which include non-cash items, also went up by 4.8 percent in August to $2.889 billion from $2.756 billion in the same month last year.
This resulted in the 5.9-percent increase in cumulative remittances in the first eight months to $22.672 billion from $21.414 billion a year earlier.
The growth in personal remittances in August was due to remittances sent by land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more, which grew 4.2 percent to $2.207 billion from $2.118 billion in the same month last year; and sea- and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year, which climbed 8.4 percent to $629 million from $580 million.
Cash remittances slightly declined by 0.8 percent in 2020 to $29.903 billion from the record $30.133 billion in 2019 because of the impact of the pandemic. This was better than the earlier forecast of a 20-percent contraction by some analysts at the height of the onslaught of the pandemic early last year.
The BSP expects cash remittances to grow by 6 percent in 2021, on improved global economic outlook.