Manila, Philippines – Money sent home by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) hit to two-month low in February despite expanding from a year earlier, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported on Monday.
Personal remittances, which sum up the net compensation of OFWs, personal transfers whether in cash or in kind and also capital transfers between households, totaled $2.528 billion for the month.
The result was 5.4 percent higher compared to the year earlier’s $2.397 billion but was down 4.7 percent from the $2.655 billion recorded in January this year.
“Land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more recorded a 6.5 percent growth to $4.0 billion while those from sea-based and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year rose by 9.7 percent to $1.0 billion,” the central bank said in a statement.
While the month’s figures were lower than expected, Security Bank Corp. economist and Assistant Vice-President Angelo Taningco said remittances since the start of the year remained “relatively good”.
“The OFW cash remittance growth of 4.5 percent year-on-year in February was below market expectations as the market was expecting a double-digit growth pace,” he said.
“However, for the first two months of the year, OFW cash remittances are still relatively large as its cumulative growth of 7.1 percent is higher than last year’s 4.3 percent growth and our full-year forecast of 5 percent,” he added.
Taningco also said “the relatively good OFW remittance performance spanning the January-February period may have been induced by rising domestic inflation and inflation expectations as well as peso depreciation.”
The major contributors to the growth in cash remittances for the month were the United States, United Arab Emirates, Germany and Malaysia, the Bangko Sentral said.
“Remittances from the US and UAE each contributed 1.2 percentage points to the 4.5 percent overall growth. Meanwhile, cash remittances from Germany and Malaysia each shared 1.0 percentage point to total growth in cash remittances,” it added.
Year to date, OFW remittances were up 8.1 percent at $5.182 billion.
For the first two months of 2017, cash remittances reached $4.647 billion, a 7.1-percent increase.
“This was supported by the cash remittances both from land-based ($3.7 billion) and sea-based ($1.0 billion) workers which increased by 6.4 percent and 9.8 percent, respectively,” the BSP said.
For the two-month period, the bulk of cash remittances came from the US, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Japan, United Kingdom, Qatar, Germany, Hong Kong and Canada, with combined accounted for almost 80 percent of total.