MANILA, Philippines — Money sent home by overseas Filipino workers jumped 9.7 percent in January 2018 from a year ago, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas reported Thursday, as expats take advantage of the peso’s slide.
Cash remittances from Filipino migrant workers stood at $2.4 billion during the first month of the year, higher than $2.169 billion posted in the same period in 2017 but below the $2.74 billion recorded in December.
Eighty percent of total cash remittances for the month came from the US, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, United Kingdom, Japan, Qatar, Canada, Kuwait and Germany.
By country source, the US, Canada, Singapore and UAE were the major contributors to the surge in cash remittances last January, the central bank said.
The BSP expects remittances from Filipinos abroad to rise by 3.6 percent to $29.1 billion this year.
“This may be because of the weakening of the peso. Sending more remittances becomes more attractive with a weaker peso,” Union Bank of the Philippines Chief Economist Ruben Carlo Asuncion said.
The Philippines had finished 2017 posting its largest ever annual trade deficit, pressuring the peso which is hovering near 11-year lows.
For 2018 to 2022, the interagency Development Budget Coordination Committee forecast an exchange rate of P49 to P52 against the dollar, adjusting it from a previous projection of P48 to P51.
Remittances spur domestic consumption, which in turn fuels much of overall economic growth.