OFW remittances ease at 3-month low

MONEY sent home by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) plunged to the lowest level in three months last February, but supported the year-to-date tally.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) data released on Thursday showed that personal remittances — personal transfers in cash or kind and capital transfers between households — amounted to $2.76 billion in the second month of 2021, a 4.62-percent decline from $2.89 billion in January, but a 5.3-percent expansion from $2.62 billion a year earlier.
The figure was the lowest since November’s $2.64 billion.

In a statement, the central bank traced the year-on-year uptick to the 7.8-percent acceleration in remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more to $2.15 billion from $1.99 billion a year ago.

“Meanwhile, remittances from sea-based workers and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year decline by 4.6 percent to $540 million from $566 million a year ago,” it added.

The latest amount boosted the January-to-February tally, which hit $5.65 billion, a 1.6-percent increase from $5.56 billion in the same period in 2020.

Cash remittances, which only count money coursed through banks, reached $2.47 billion in February, a 4.84-percent reduction from $2.60 billion a month before, but climbed by 5.1 percent from $2.35 billion a year earlier.

“In particular, cash remittances from land-based workers increased by 7.8 percent to $1.982 billion, while that of sea-based workers decreased by 4.6 percent to $495 million,” the BSP explained.

For the two-month period, cash remittances grew by 1.5 percent to $5.08 billion from $5 billion in the same period in 2020.

“The growth in cash remittances for January–February 2021 emanated mainly from the United States (US), Malaysia, and Singapore,” the Bangko Sentral said.

The US claims the largest share to total OFW remittances from January to February with 41 percent. It was followed by Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Malaysia, Taiwan and Qatar.

“The combined remittances from these top ten countries accounted for 78.3 percent of total cash remittances,” the central bank added.