OFW remittances up in September

Money sent home by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in September jumped 9.1 percent to $2.888 billion versus the $2.648 billion recorded a year earlier, data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed on Monday.

In a statement, the central bank said personal remittances—personal transfers in cash or kind and capital transfers between households—from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more reached $2.205 billion in the period, 10.2-percent higher than the $2.001 billion recorded in September 2019.

Remittances from sea-based workers and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year also increased by 6.5 percent to $622 million in September compared to the previous $584 million.

Cash remittances, which only count money coursed through banks, hit $2.601 billion in September, a 9.3-percent jump from $2.379 billion in the same month last year.

For the January to September period, BSP said personal remittances amounted to $24.302 billion, while cash remittances reached $21.886 billion.

By country source, cash remittances from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Germany, Kuwait and the United Kingdom shrank in the first nine months while those from the United States, Singapore, Qatar, Hong Kong and Taiwan expanded.

The US had the highest share to total OFW remittances from January to September at 40.1 percent. It was followed by Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the UK, the UAE, Canada, Hong Kong, Qatar, and Taiwan.

Michael L. Ricafort, RCBC head of economics and industry research division and corporate planning group, in an e-mailed statement, said OFW remittances may further pick up in the last quarter of 2020, but said this would depend on the economic recovery of host countries.

“Going forward, any further recovery in OFW remittances in the coming months would also largely depend/be a function of the further recovery of the economies of the major host countries around the world from Covid (coronavirus disease 2019) lockdowns….for some OFWs to be able to work again, as well as the pace of restoring/regaining jobs lost by some adversely affected OFWs in the same or different industry/host country, including repatriated OFWs especially those coming from hard-hit industries such as tourism-/travel-related industries,” Ricafort explained.

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