Six-month remittances below target
The personal remittances of some 10 million overseas Filipino workers posted below-target growth of just $15.8 billion in the first six months, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said on Wednesday.
The 2.8 percent annual growth of remittances for the period contrasted against the central bank’s target expansion of 4 percent and highlights the role played by market sentiment and its overt expression in the form of the weak peso at the currencies market.
Over the six-month stretch to June this year, the peso averaged from P50.509 in January but eventually weakened to an average rate of only P53.048 on June.
“Personal remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more grew by 2.5 percent to $12.2 billion, while transfers from sea-based workers and land-based workers with short-term contracts likewise increased by 3.4 percent to $3.2 billion for the same period.
“However, personal remittances for June (at $2.6 billion) were 4.9 percent lower than the level posted in the same month a year ago,” BSP Governor Nestor A. Espenilla Jr, said.
According to Espenilla, the cash remittances of overseas Filipinos sent through the banking system posted growth averaging 2.7 percent to $14.2 billion in the first six months from a year earlier.
“Cash remittances sent by land-based workers and sea-based workers rose by 2.5 percent and 3.4 percent to $11.2 billion and $3.0, respectively. For June, however, total cash remittances fell by 4.5 percent year-on-year to $2.4 billion,” he said.
The countries that registered the biggest declines in cash remittances in June 2018 included the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait.
The Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) repatriation program of the government may have partly affected the remittance flows for the month, according to Expenilla.
During the first two months of 2018, a total of 4,149 OFWs were repatriated from UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Furthermore, for 2017, preliminary data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) showed that the number of deployed land-based workers (LBWs) dropped by 3.28 percent (or 1,614,674 LBWs) year-on-year, while that of the sea-based workers (SBWs) fell by 14.62 percent (or 378,072 SBWs).
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