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OFW inflows up 6.8% to $2 B in Jan

By Kathleen A. Martin (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 18, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) went up 6.8 percent in January from a year ago, driven largely by sustained demand for skilled and professional manpower overseas, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported yesterday.

Personal remittances – cash and non-cash – amounted to $2.002 billion in January, 6.8 percent higher than last year’s $1.874 billion.

“Remittance flows from overseas Filipinos remained resilient, underpinned by the sustained demand for Filipino manpower overseas, particularly skilled workers,” the BSP said.

Cash remittances from both land and sea-based workers went up 5.9 percent to $1.799 billion in January from $1.699 billion a year ago.

However, the latest cash inflow was 17 percent lower than the $2.173 billion recorded in December as the level of remittances “typically drops” after the holidays, the central bank said.

The central bank, citing data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, said there were 75,348 approved job orders in January of which 32.1 percent or 24,187 were processed.

The processed job orders were for service, production, and professional, technical, and related jobs in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Taiwan, Kuwait, and Qatar.

At the same time, the expansion of bank and non-bank remittance service providers abroad supported the growth in remittances.

The BSP said remittances from land-based workers increased 4.9 percent to $1.3 billion in January, while those from sea-based workers jumped 9.1 percent to $450 million.

“Cash remittances during the month came mostly from the US, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Japan, and Canada,” the central bank said.

Last year, cash remittances surged 10 percent to $22.968 billion, the highest ever recorded by the central bank. Personal remittances, meanwhile, grew 8.6 percent to $25.351 billion.

The robust inflows of remittances was due to the steady deployment of Filipino workers abroad. Data from the POEA showed 1.8 million Filipinos were sent abroad for work in 2013.

Remittances, which supports domestic consumption, made up 8.4 percent of the country’s gross domestic product last year.
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