Personal remittances from Filipinos working abroad reached US$2.3 billion in March 2015, according to recently released data from Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). Registering an 11% increase, this was the highest monthly remittance growth recorded in 15 months stated BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. March’s remittance increase brought the cumulative remittances level to US$6.4 billion.
The sustained increase in remittances during the first quarter was attributed to robust inflows from both land-based and sea-based workers. At US$4.4 million, remittances from land-based workers showed a 5.3% year-over-year increase. Meanwhile, remittances from sea-based workers grew by 6.1% at US$1.4 billion.
Cash remittances coursed through banks was at US$2.1 billion in March, showing an 11.3% year-on-year growth. For the first quarter of 2015, cash remittances reached US$5.8 billion, which was 5.5% higher than last year’s.
The BSP listed United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong as the main sources of cash remittances. However, the bank reiterated that this data might not be accurate as remittance centres in various overseas locations commonly course remittances through banks located in the United States. Thus, the United States would show up to be the primary source of cash remittances because Philippine banks recognise the most immediate source as the origin of the funds.
“Remittances remained strong partly on account of sustained demand for skilled Filipino manpower overseas,” stated the BSP.
“Preliminary data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) indicated that approved job orders reached 243,045 for the first quarter of 2015, of which 31.2% were processed job orders that were intended mainly for service, production, and professional, technical and related workers in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Taiwan, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. Likewise, the POEA reported that a total of 519,029 contracts were processed for the first quarter of 2015,” the BSP further added.
The BSP also lauded the efforts of banks and non-banks remittance service providers, such as iRemit to the Philippines, to expand their coverage in both international and domestic markets. The BSP showed approval towards the continued introduction of innovations to remittance products and remittance tie-ups abroad. “As of end-March 2015, commercial banks’ established tie-ups, remittance centres, correspondent banks and branches/representative offices abroad reached 4,840 from 4,771 in the comparable period in 2014,” stated the BSP.