Remittances grow 4.3% in September after August setback

MANILA, Philippines – Cash remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) recovered in September after suffering a decline in August due to the depreciation of other currencies against the US dollar, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said on Monday, November 16.

Cash sent home by Filipinos abroad grew 4.3% to $2.2 billion in September. It is up from $2.11 billion in the same month in 2014.

This comes after remittances dropped by 0.6% in August because of the weaker euro, Canadian dollar, and Japanese yen, which reduced the US dollar equivalent of cash remittances sent from host countries.

It marked the first time since April 2003 that the amount of money sent back to the Philippines by Filipinos overseas contracted by 10.9%.

According to BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr, cash remittances went up 4.1% to $18.41 billion in the first 9 months of 2015. It is up from the $17.68 billion posted in the same period last year.

Tetangco said this was because the demand for skilled Filipino workers "remained the key driver of sustained remittance inflows."

Most of the remittances posted during this period came from the US, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, United Kingdom, Japan, Hong Kong, and Canada.

According to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), there have been 663,112 job orders from January to September this year.

In the first 9 months of 2015, remittances from land-based Filipino workers went up 4.4% to $14.1 billion, while remittances from sea-based workers increased by 3.3% to $4.3 billion.

Meanwhile, personal remittances climbed 4.3% to $2.43 billion in September, an increase from $2.33 billion in the same period last year.

Total growth for the first 9 months of the year is pegged at 3.9% to $20.37 billion, an increase from $19.6 billion.

The central bank said it expects to end 2015 with $81.6 billion in dollar reserves. The country also expects its balance-of-payments position to post a surplus of $2 billion.

A major source of foreign exchange, cash remittances from OFWs help ensure that the Philippines would not run out of foreign currency in case of external shocks.

The Philippines' gross international reserves has reached $81.14 billion, its highest since December 2013. – Rappler.com