February 17, 2020 at 08:30 pm
Julito G. Rada
Money sent home by Filipinos working overseas rose 4.1 percent in 2019 to an all-time high of $30.133 billion from $28.94 billion in 2018 and surpassed the 3-percent growth target set by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
The BSP said in a statement Monday the growth of cash remittances last year was fueled by higher flows from both land and sea-based workers which increased 3.5 percent to $23.6 billion and 6.5 percent to $6.5 billion, respectively.
“Notwithstanding pockets of political uncertainties across the globe, cash remittances in 2019 remained strong. This is evident in inward remittances from Asia, the Americas, and Africa, where inflows grew annually by 12.3 percent, 10.6 percent, and 4.8 percent, respectively,” the BSP said.
It said the growth of inflows in these regions more than made up for the 9.8-percent decline in remittances from the Middle East.
Data showed that in December 2019, cash remittances rose 1.9 percent to $2.902 billion from $2.849 billion a year ago.
The BSP said the bulk of remittance inflows in December came from the United States, which accounted for the highest share of 37.6 percent, followed by Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Canada, Hong Kong, Germany, and Kuwait.
Personal remittances, which include non-cash items, also reached an all-time high of $33.5 billion in 2019, up by 3.9 percent from $32.2 billion in 2018. Personal remittances in December posted a year-on-year growth of 1.9 percent to $3.2 billion.
“The sustained growth in personal remittances during the year was primarily driven by the 3.5-percent increase in remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more, which amounted to $25.6 billion from $24.8 billion,” the BSP said.
“Further, the 6.5-percent rise in personal remittances from sea-based and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year, amounting to $7.1 billion from $6.7 billion, contributed to the growth in personal remittances,” it said.
Personal remittances, which boost household income and consumption, accounted for 9.3 percent and 7.8 percent of the gross domestic product and the gross national income, respectively.
The BSP earlier downplayed any potential impact of the 2019 novel coronavirus disease on the growth of remittances this year, saying inflows from China were insignificant compared to countries in the Middle East, the Americas, Europe and other nations in the Asia-Pacific region.