OFW remittances up by more than 5% in March

By Anna Leah E. Gonzales

Money sent home by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) went up by 5.6 percent in March, boosting the year-to-date tally, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said.

BSP data released on Monday showed that personal remittances — personal transfers in cash or kind and capital transfers between households — amounted to $2.8 billion in March up from the $2.75 billion in February and the $2.65 billion recorded in March last year.

“This is the second consecutive month that remittances were higher than last year’s levels, reflecting mainly the easing of travel restrictions, reopening of borders to foreign workers, and progress in Covid-19 vaccine (coronavirus disease 2019) roll out in many advanced countries,” said the BSP.

Personal remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more went up by 5 percent to $2.11 billion from $2.01 billion a year ago while those from sea-based workers and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year also rose by 4.5 percent to $617 million from $591 million.

The latest amount boosted the first quarter tally, hitting $8.45 billion, a 2.9-percent increase from $8.21 billion in the same period in 2020.

Cash remittances, which only count money coursed through banks, reached $2.5 billion in March, a 4.9-percent increase from $2.39 billion a year ago.

“In particular, cash remittances from land-based workers increased by 5.0 percent to $1.948 billion, while those from sea-based workers rose by 4.5 percent to $566 million,” said the BSP.

For the first three months of the year, cash remittances amounted to $7.59 billion, higher by 2.6 percent compared to the $7.40 billion level in the same period last year.

“The growth in cash remittances for January–March 2021 came largely from the United StatesMalaysia, and Singapore,” the Bangko Sentral said.

The US registered the highest share to overall remittances at 40.8 percent for the first three months, followed by Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Qatar, Taiwan and Malaysia.

The BSP said the combined remittances from the top ten countries accounted for 78.2 percent of total cash remittances.

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