Cash remittances from Filipinos working overseas increased 5.1 percent in February to $2.477 billion from $2.358 billion a year ago, despite the lingering impact of COVID-19 pandemic, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said Thursday.
Data showed remittances from land-based workers climbed 7.8 percent to $1.982 billion, while those of sea-based workers decreased 4.6 percent to $495 million. The figures brought cash remittances in the first two months to $5.08 billion, up 1.5 percent from $5.006 billion in the same period last year.
“The growth in cash remittances for January to February 2021 emanated mainly from the United States, Malaysia and Singapore,” the BSP said.
The United States posted the highest share to overall remittances at 41 percent in the two-month period, followed by Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Malaysia, Taiwan and Qatar. The combined remittances from these countries accounted for 78.3 percent of total cash remittances.
Meanwhile, personal remittances, which include non-cash items, rose 5.3 percent in February to $2.761 billion from $2.623 billion in the same month last year.
“The increase in personal remittances was attributed to the 7.8-percent growth in remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more to $2.152 billion from $1.997 billion in February 2020,” the BSP said.
Remittances from sea-based workers and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year declined by 4.6 percent to $540 million from $566 million a year ago.
The BSP said personal remittances reached $5.655 billion in the first two months, up 1.6 percent from $5.566 billion a year earlier.
Cash remittances were resilient last year despite the pandemic, declining by just 0.8 percent to reach $29.903 billion from the record $30.133 billion in 2019. Personal remittances also declined by 0.8 percent last year to $33.194 billion from $33.467 billion in 2019.
The BSP expects remittances to grow by 4 percent this year, on expectation that the pandemic would be over soon.