Bangko Sentral says remittances dropped 1.7% to $2.6 billion in January


Money sent home by Filipinos working overseas declined 1.7 percent in January to $2.603 billion from $2.648 billion a year ago, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said Monday.

This was the second month of contraction since remittances slipped 0.4 percent in December on the prolonged impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In particular, cash remittances from land-based workers contracted by 2.4 percent to $2.044 billion, while that of sea-based workers increased marginally by 1 percent to $558 million,” the BSP said in a statement.

Data showed the United States registered the highest share to total remittances at 40.9 percent, followed by Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Malaysia, and Taiwan.

The combined remittances from these countries accounted for 78.2 percent of total cash remittances during the period.

Meanwhile, personal remittances which include non-cash items also went down by 1.7 percent to $2.895 billion from $2.944 billion in the same month last year.

“The marginal decline in personal remittances during the month was attributed to the 2.4-percent drop in remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more to $2.219 billion from $2.274 billion recorded in January 2020,” the BSP said.

Remittances from sea-based workers and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year increased by 1 percent to $609 million in January from $603 million a year earlier.

Cash remittances showed signs of recovery amid the pandemic, declining by just 0.8 percent last year to reach $29.903 billion from the record $30.133 billion in 2019.

This was stronger than the BSP’s earlier projection of a 2-percent contraction for the year.

Personal remittances also declined by 0.8 percent in 2020 to $33.194 billion from $33.467 billion in 2019.

ING Bank Manila senior economist Nicholas Mapa said earlier remittance flows bucked the general expectation for a substantial contraction in 2020 with overseas Filipinos managing to send home much-needed funds despite the challenges faced on the economic and health fronts.

Mapa said that with vaccination rollouts ongoing across the globe, job prospects might brighten for overseas Filipinos in the coming months which would be crucial in supporting the sagging domestic incomes due to severe job losses and poor consumer confidence.

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