Business & Economy

Remittances up 4.4% to $6.56B in Q1

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Cash sent home by Filipinos abroad through banks inched up to $2.42 billion in March as deployment of overseas workers remained steady during the first quarter.

The latest Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) data released Monday, May 16, showed a 1.5-percent increase in cash remittances last March from $2.39 billion a year ago, bringing the first quarter total to $6.56 billion.

The March figure was a steady rise from $2.02 billion in January and $2.11 billion in February.

The cash remittances that came in during the first three months exceeded by 4.4 percent the $6.282 billion recorded in the first quarter of 2015.

Cash remittances from both land-based ($5.1 billion) and sea-based ($1.4 billion) workers grew by 5.3 percent and 1.5 percent year-on-year, respectively, the BSP said in a statement.

More than 75 percent of the cash remittances in March were from Filipinos living or working in Hong Kong, Japan, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States.

According to the BSP, the steady demand for overseas Filipino workers remained a key driver to the growth of remittance inflows.

The BSP cited a preliminary Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) report showing that 585,688 job contracts for work abroad were processed during the first quarter, of which the bulk of 452,722 were for land-based employment.

The same POEA report showed that a total of 2.3 million contracts were processed in 2015, with 1.2 million deployed within the year.

The BSP also cited the role of financial institutions in boosting remittance inflows. “The initiatives of banks and nonbank remittance service providers to expand their international and domestic market coverage through tie-ups abroad and innovations in financial products in the remittance market have facilitated the broader capture of remittances through formal channels,” it said.

BSP data showed that as of end-March, 5,524 remittance centers serve Filipinos overseas, up from 4,840 a year ago. Inquirer.net

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