Manila, Philippines — Remittances from Filipinos abroad grew above six percent in May, helping boost the country’s thinning foreign exchange buffer against external shocks, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported yesterday.
The growth in May was slower than the double-digit growth in personal and cash remittances of 12.9 percent and 12.7 percent, respectively, recorded in April.
BSP Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. said personal remittances, or the sum of cash and non-cash items that flow through both formal or via electronic wire and informal channels such as money or goods carried across borders, went up 6.1 percent to $2.75 billion in May from $2.59 billion in the same month last year.
This brought the five-month total to $13.17 billion, 4.4 percent higher than the $12.61 billion in the same period last year.
Espenilla said the increase in personal remittances in the first five months was driven by steady inflows from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more amounting to $10.2 billion, while compensation of sea-based workers and land-based workers with short-term contracts reached $2.7 billion.
On the other hand, Espenilla said cash remittances coursed through banks went up nearly seven percent to $2.47 billion in May from $2.31 billion in the same month last year.
Cash remittances from the US, the United Kingdom, and Singapore send by land-based workers increased 5.3 percent to $1.9 billion in May, while the amount remitted by sea-based workers grew by 13.2 percent to $500 million.
In all, case remittances rose 4.2 percent to $11.82 billion in the first five months from $11.35 billion a year ago.
The BSP chief said the US, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Japan, Qatar, Germany, and Kuwait accounted for 78 percent of the cash remittances in the first five months.