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6-month remittances top $10b

By Anna Leah G. Estrada | Posted on August 16, 2012 | 12:01am
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Remittances sent home by Filipino workers abroad hit a record $1.8 billion in June, up by 4.2 percent from $1.7 billion a year ago.

The 4.2-percent rise, however, was the slowest in 15 months and lower than the government’s full-year remittance growth target of 5 percent, as fund transfers from crisis-hit European nations declined.

The Bangko Sentral said including non-cash items, total personal remittances reached $2 billion in June, also higher by 4.2 percent from the same month last year.

This brought cash remittances in the first six months to $10.1 billion and personal remittances to $11.3 billion.  Cash remittances in the January-June period rose 5.1 percent from a year ago while personal remittances increased 5.3 percent during the same period.

Remittances, which account for about a tenth of the gross national income, support consumer spending in the Philippines and help boost banking, real estate, education, healthcare, transportation and retail trade.

“The steady uptrend recorded during the six-month period was supported by higher personal remittances from land-based OF workers with work contracts of one year or more [up by 2.7 percent], as well as sea-based workers and land-based workers with short-term contracts  [by 13.7 percent],” said Bangko Sentral Governor Amando Tetangco Jr.

Fund transfers from land-based workers rose 2.8 percent to $7.8 billion in the first half while remittances from sea-based workers climbed 13.6 percent to $2.3 billion.

Top sources of remittances in the six-month period were the United States, Japan, Germany, the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong.

“Cash remittances from most countries in the euro area [e.g., Greece, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, among others] posted downtrends as a result of the interlocking sovereign debt and banking crisis,” said the Bangko Sentral.

Higher remittances, however, were registered in some countries in the non-euro area, notably the United Kingdom.

Data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration showed that in 2011, the number of workers deployed overseas increased by 14.8 percent, of which 80 percent were land-based workers while the remaining were newly hired workers.

The POEA said that as of July this year, approved job orders reached 472, 261, of which 35 percent consisted of processed job orders for services, professional, technical, and production and related workers.

The rest of the job orders were intended for the manpower, requirements in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait and Taiwan.

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