By Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 16, 2017 - 12:00am
“Cash remittances in 2016 continued to increase on the back of improving global economic conditions,” BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo said. File photo
MANILA, Philippines - Remittances from overseas Filipino workers went up by five percent to a new record high of $26.9 billion last year from $25.61 billion in 2015, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported yesterday.
“Cash remittances in 2016 continued to increase on the back of improving global economic conditions,” BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo said.
The five percent growth in cash remittances was also faster than the four percent growth target of the BSP.
Remittances from land-based Filipino workers went up by 7.6 percent to $21.3 billion while money sent home by sea-based workers declined 3.8 percent to $5.6 billion due to stiffer competition in the supply of seafarers particularly from East Asia and Eastern Europe.
Guinigundo said remittances from the Middle East went up more than 12 percent last year due to higher inflows from Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates.
Remittances from Filipinos based in Asia rose 7.4 percent, buoyed by transfers originating from Singapore, Japan, China, and Taiwan.
According to Guinigundo, money sent by Filipinos from the Americas expanded 3.8 percent, fueled by the 6.2 percent rise in remittances from the US.
Guinigundo said the increases were enough to offset the 8.4 percent decline in the amount of money sent home by Filipinos from Europe particularly the United Kingdom, Italy, and the Netherlands.
The pound sterling weakened against the dollar after the UK decided to leave the European Union through a referendum last June 23.
Data released by the BSP showed about 80 percent of the total remittances last year came from the US, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Japan, Qatar, Kuwait, Hong Kong, and Germany.
For December alone, remittances climbed 3.6 percent to a new monthly record of $2.56 billion from the previous month high of $2.47 billion recorded in December 2015.
Major source of remittances last December were the US, Qatar, and Japan. Remittances from the over 10 million Filipinos deployed abroad account for about 9.8 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
On the other hand, personal remittances increased 4.9 percent to a new record high of $29.71 billion last year from $28.31 billion in 2015. For December alone, personal remittances increased 3.6 percent to $2.82 billion from $2.73 billion in the same month in 2015.
Personal remittance is computed as the sum of gross earnings of overseas Filipino workers with work contracts of less than one year, including all sea-based workers, less taxes, social contributions, and transportation and travel expenditures in their host countries.