Start of 'ber' months boost overseas remittances

MANILA, Philippines – Cash and personal remittances sent home to relatives by overseas Filipinos, fuelled primarily by the padala from those in the  US, increased by 6% in September said the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

The padala from overseas Filipinos usually amps up during the onset of September, locally known as the “ber” months or the last 4 months of the year, which is also the traditional Yuletide season. 

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said Friday, November 15, personal remittances climbed by 6.3% to $2.65 billion in September from $2.49 billion in the same month last year. 

The BSP said the US registered the highest share of total remittances by country source during the period January to September at 37.5%. 

The other top country sources were Saudi Arabia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Japan, United Kingdom, Canada, Hong Kong, Germany and Kuwait.

According to the BSP, the combined remittances from these countries accounted for 78.3% of total cash remittances from January to September this year.

The BSP categorizes personal remittances as cash and non-cash items that flow through both formal, or via electronic wire, and informal channels, which are money or goods carried across borders.

Personal  remittances increased by 3.6% from January to September to $24.64 billion, against $23.71 billion in the same period last year.

Pushing the growth in personal remittances during the nine-month period was the 3.3% hike in remittance inflows from land-based overseas Filipino workers with employment contracts of one year or more. This stood at $18.8 billion, from $18.2 billion a year ago. 

Remittances from sea-based workers and land-based workers with short-term contracts increased by 8.2% to $5.3 billion from January to September compared to $4.9 billion in the same period last year.

Likewise, cash remittances rose by 6.3% to $2.38 billion in September from $2.24 billion in the same month last year.

Remittances coursed through banks from land-based workers with contracts of less than one year went up by 9.1% to $2.4 billion from $2.2 billion.

As a result, cash remittances increased by 4.2% to $22.19 billion in the first nine months of the year from $21.29 billion in the same period last year.

“By type of worker, cash remittances from land-based and sea-based workers increased by 3.2 % to $17.3 billion, and 8%  to $4.9 billion, respectively,” the BSP said.

Because of the robust signs,  BSP retained the growth target this year for both personal and cash remittances at 3% .

The amount of money sent home by overseas Filipinos usually account for 10% of gross domestic product (GDP).

The padala fuels personal consumption and spurs  a sustained steady economic growth. 

Aside from remittances, earnings from the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector and tourism made for a healthy gross international reserves (GIR). 

That made for a stronger peso that has returned to the 50 to $1 level,  after dipping over 5% last year to 52.58 to $1. – Rappler.com