Money sent home by Filipinos working overseas grew 5.2 percent in September to $2.737 billion from $2.601 billion a year ago, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said Monday.
The BSP in a statement attributed the increase in cash remittances to higher receipts from land-based and sea-based workers, which rose 6.2 percent to $2.156 billion from $2.031 billion and 1.9 percent to $581 million from $570 million, respectively.
The figures brought cash remittances in the first nine months to $23.117 billion, or 5.6 percent higher than the year-ago level of $21.886 billion.
“The growth in cash remittances from the United States, Malaysia, Taiwan and South Korea contributed largely to the increase in remittances in January to September 2021,” the BSP said.
The US registered the highest share of overall remittances at 40.8 percent in the first nine months, followed by Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Taiwan, Qatar and South Korea. The combined remittances from these top ten countries accounted for 78.9 percent of total cash remittances.
Personal remittances, which include non-cash items, reached $3.026 billion in September, or 4.8 percent higher than the $2.888 billion recorded in the same month last year.
This resulted in cumulative personal remittances rising by 5.7 percent in the first nine months to $25.699 billion from $24.302 billion a year earlier.
“The increase in personal remittances in September was due to remittances sent by land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more, which grew by 6.2 percent to $2.341 billion from $2.205 billion in the same month last year, and sea- and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year, which increased by 1.7 percent to $633 million from $623 million a year ago,” the BSP said.
Cash remittances slightly declined by 0.8 percent in 2020 to $29.903 billion from the record $30.133 billion in 2019 as the pandemic impacted the deployment of overseas Filipino workers and many countries implemented stricter quarantine restrictions.
The 0.8-percent decline was better than the earlier forecast of a 20-percent contraction by some analysts at the start of the pandemic.
This year, the BSP expects cash remittances to grow by 6 percent on the back of improving global economic outlook.
Remittances support various sectors such as banking, real estate, retail, transport, tourism, healthcare and education in the Philippines. They also offset the large merchandise trade deficit, helping the balance of payments to maintain a surplus.