Japan’s global investment bank Nomura has maintained its forecast of a 5.1-percent rise for cash remittance inflows from overseas Filipino employees this year, citing continuing worries over the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.
Nomura analysts said in a Tuesday commentary that the outlook for remittances is still uncertain.
They forecast a 5.1-percent rise in cash remittances year over year, partially due to low base effects, but also a 1.30-percent contraction in real terms, following a 0.8-percent decrease in 2020.
Nomura’s forecast corresponds to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) forecast of 4 percent
According to the latest central bank data, cash remittances totaled $2.51 billion in March, up 1.53 percent from $2.47 billion the previous month and wider by 4.9 percent from $2.39 billion a year ago.
Land-based remittances increased by 5.0 percent to $1.94 billion, while sea-based remittances inched up by 4.5 percent to $566 million.
In local currency and inflation-adjusted terms, however, Nomura analysts estimate that “real” remittance growth was a much weaker -4.2 percent in March, only slightly bigger than -4.7 percent in February.
“While some host countries like the US are recovering, worker deployments from the Philippines may be slow to recover due to the local Covid situation and the latest border restrictions in Taiwan and Singapore may pose additional headwinds in the near term,” the analysts emphasized.
The BSP has said that the United States, Malaysia, and Singapore accounted for the majority of the increase in cash remittances from January to March this year.
In the first three months, the United States received 40.8 percent of total remittances, followed by Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Qatar, Taiwan, and Malaysia.
In the first quarter of 2021, the top 10 countries’ combined remittances accounted for 78.2 percent of total cash remittances of $7.59 billion.