OFW remittances reach 2-month peak at $2.8 billion in March


Remittances by overseas Filipino employees (OFWs) reached its highest amount in two months in March, bolstering the year-to-date tally.


According to data released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Monday, personal remittances — cash and kind transfers between households — totaled $2.80 billion in the third month of 2021, up 1.52 percent from $2.75 billion in February and accelerated 5.6 percent from $2.65 billion a year earlier.


The amount was the largest since $2.89 billion in January.


“This is the second consecutive month that remittances were higher than last year’s levels, reflecting mainly the easing of travel restrictions, re-opening of borders to foreign workers, and progress in Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) vaccine roll out in many advanced countries,” according to a statement released by the central bank.


Personal remittances from land-based employees with one-year or longer contracts increased by 5 percent to $2.115 billion in March 2020, ballooned from $2.014 billion in March 2019.


Meanwhile, remittances from sea-based employees and land-based workers on short-term contracts climbed by 4.5 percent to $617 million in March 2021 from $591 million the previous year.


The most recent statistic brought the total for January-March to $8.45 billion, expanding 2.9 percent from $8.21 billion in the same period last year.


In March, cash remittances amounted to $2.51 billion, growing 1.53 percent from $2.47 billion the previous month, and inching up 4.9 percent from $2.39 billion a year earlier.


Cash remittances jumped by 2.6 percent to $7.59 billion in the three-month period, picking up from $7.40 billion in the same period in 2020.


Remittances from land-based employees rose 5.0 percent to $1.948 billion, while those from sea-based workers surged 4.5 percent to $566 million.


“The growth in cash remittances for January–March 2021 came largely from the United States US, Malaysia, and Singapore,” the Bangko Sentral said.


The US accounted for 40.8 percent of total remittances in the first three months, followed by Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Qatar, Taiwan, and Malaysia.


The top 10 countries’ collective remittances accounted for 78.2 percent of overall cash remittances.


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