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OFW remittances fell to $2.75B in August

Money sent home by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) declined in August, keeping the eight-month tally smaller than the year-ago amount, data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed on Thursday.

Personal remittances — personal transfers in cash or kind and capital transfers between households — reached $2.75 billion in the month, a 10.66-percent and 4.13-percent decrease from $3.08 billion in July and $2.87 billion in August 2019, respectively.

In a statement, the central bank said personal remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more dropped to $2.118 billion in August, 4.6 percent lower than $2.221 billion a year earlier.

Remittances from sea-based workers and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year also fell by 2.2 percent to $580 million from $593 million year-on-year, it added.

The latest figure failed to support the January-to-August figure, which only reached $21.51 billion, a 2.6-percent dip from $21.99 billion in the same period in 2019.

Cash remittances, which only count money coursed through banks, hit $2.48 billion in August, a 10.77-percent decline from $2.78 billion in July and 4.09-percent decrease from $2.58 billion a year earlier.

For the first eight months, cash remittances dropped by 2.6 percent to $19.28 billion from $19.80 billion in January to August 2019.

“This was due to the decline in remittances from both land-based and sea-based workers, which fell by 1.9 percent (to $15.183 billion from $15.476 billion) and 5.3 percent (to $4.101 billion from $4.332 billion),” the BSP explained.

By country source, year-to-date remittances from Saudi Arabia, Japan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) shrank while those from the United States, Singapore and Malaysia expanded.

The US had the highest share to total OFW remittances from January to August at 40.2 percent. It was followed by Singapore, the United Kingdom, Japan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Canada, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Qatar.

“The combined remittances from these countries accounted for 78.9 percent of total cash remittances,” the Bangko Sentral said.

The BSP projects these inflows to shrink by only 2 percent this year, lower than its earlier estimate of a 5-percent decrease “following the strong rebound in June and July 2020 as host economies started to reopen.”

Next year, it expects remittances to rebound by 4 percent.

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Article and Photo originally posted by Manila Times last October 16, 2020 and written by Mayvelin U. Caraballo.