The personal remittances sent home by some 10 million overseas Filipinos—representing gross earnings of both land- and sea-based workers, including so-called personal transfers and capital transfers between households—approximated the continued growth of the broad economy in the first four months to 5.1 percent, or $8.65 billion, from only $8.23 billion 12 months earlier.
In that period, the personal remittances notably slowed to an expansion averaging only 5.1 percent versus the year-ago growth averaging 6.5 percent, and a reflection of the decelerated growth rates the various countries that hosted the overseas Filipinos reported during the period.
The Philippine economy expanded 5.2 percent in the first quarter of the year.
So-called cash remittances, the kind that gets processed by the banking system, showed a more pronounced slowdown averaging only 5.4 percent in the first four months, or only $7.81 billion from year-ago growth averaging 6.1 percent, or $7.41 billion.
The practical slowdown in remittances, important because the liquidity they generate fuel consumption across the $272-billion economy, proved not palpable on a month-on-month basis, the number having broadly steadied to $2.23 billion this year, from $2.13 billion last year, in terms of personal remittances.
Cash remittances month-on month also broadly steadied to $2.01 billion in April from $1.92 billion last year. The cash-remittance growth normalized in April this year after posting volatile expansion rates in the first three months of 2015, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
Data from the central bank released on Monday showed that the growth of overseas Filipino worker remittances hit 5.1 percent in April this year—expanding from the $2.128-billion remittances sent home in April 2014 to $2.233 billion sent in April this year.
This was a slowdown from rather rare double-digit monthly growth surge in remittances reported in March this year totaling $2.326 billion, or growth of 11.3 percent from the same month last year.
April’s remittance inflows brought the total four-month remittance flows to $7.807 billion. This was 5.4 percent higher than the $7.409 billion remittance inflows reported for the period last year.
Cash remittances from land-based OFWs hit $5.9 billion in the first four months of the year—growing by 5.3 percent from last year while sea-based Filipino migrant workers hit $1.9 billion—or an expansion of 5.6 percent.
The major sources of cash remittances were the Untied States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the United Kingdom, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong and Canada.
The four-month remittance growth was also within the 5-percent expansion anticipated by the economic managers this year.
The central bank said the steady demand for skilled Filipino manpower overseas provided support for the continued growth in remittance flows.
The BSP said preliminary data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration show that of the total approved 310,727 job orders for the January-to-April 2015 period, 33.8 percent were processed job orders intended for service, production, and professional, technical and related workers in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Taiwan, and the UAE.
“In addition, the continued efforts of bank and nonbank remittance service providers to expand their international and domestic market coverage, and introduce innovations in financial products and services in the remittance market contributed to the sustained inflow of remittances,” the BSP said.
Personal remittances—or all current transfers of Filipino migrant workers whether in cash or in kind—grew by 4.9 percent year-on-year in April 2015 to $2.2 billion.