July OFW remittances highest in 7 months

MONEY sent home by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) surged to its highest level in seven months in July, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) data, upping the year-to-date total.

Central bank numbers issued on Wednesday showed that personal remittances – cash or kind transfers between families – reached $3.16 billion in the seventh month of 2021, up 7.86 percent from $2.93 billion in June and rising 2.65 percent from $3.08 billion a year earlier.

The sum is the most since December of the previous year when $3.20 billion was remitted.

The boost was attributed to a 1.6-percent increase in remittances from land-based workers on one-year or longer contracts, which expanded to $2.50 billion from $2.46 billion a year ago.

Meanwhile, the BSP noted in a statement that remittances from sea-based workers and land-based workers with contracts of shorter than one year climbed by 6.9 percent to $595 million from $557 million a year ago.

The new figure raised the amount for the first seven months of the year to $19.78 billion, soaring 6 percent from $18.65 billion the year before.

Cash remittances, which solely include money transmitted through banks, totaled $2.85 billion in July, surging 8.15 percent from $2.63 billion the previous month and 2.5 percent more than $2.78 billion the year before.

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“The increase in cash remittances was due to the growth in remittances from land-based workers and sea-based workers, which rose by 1.6 percent (to $2.308 billion from $2.273 billion) and 6.9 percent (to $545 million from $510 million), respectively,” the Bangko Sentral explained.

Over the same seven-month period in 2020, cash remittances grew by 5.8 percent to $17.77 billion, seeing an uptick from $16.80 billion.

“The growth in cash remittances in the first seven months of 2021 came mainly from the United States, Malaysia and South Korea,” the central bank reported.

The United States accounted for 40.4 percent of total OFW remittances from January to July. The following countries were Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, South Korea, Qatar and Taiwan.

“The combined remittances from these top 10 countries accounted for 78.6 percent of total cash remittances,” the BSP noted.

Cash remittances are expected to recover by 4 percent this year, according to the Bangko Sentral, which is unchanged from its prior forecast.

“This is supported by expectations of improved labor mobility following rising vaccination levels in the country and in major overseas Filipinos destination countries, easing of travel restrictions and reopening of borders to foreign workers,” it has stressed.

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