MANILA – Despite international political uncertainties, remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) still logged a record high of $33.5 billion in the year just passed, 3.9% higher than the $32.2 billion recorded in 2018 the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said Monday.
According to the BSP the new record came from sustained growth of personal remittances of OFWs in 2019 driven by land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more.
The land-based workers accordingly sent home an aggregate total of $25.6 billion, 3.5% higher year-on-year.
Meanwhile, personal remittances from sea-based and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year sent a total of $7.1 billion, 6.5% higher than the $6.7 billion in 2018.
Added up, this amounts to a staggering record-high $32.5B remittances in the year just passed.
An online report also claimed remittances from countries in Asia, the Americas, and Africa posted growth, but inflows from the Middle East slowed down by 9.8%.
Still tops on the inflows were those from the United States, which accounted for 37.6%. This was followed closely by Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Japan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Canada, Hong Kong, Germany, and Kuwait.
On the home front, OFW money boosted household income and consumption last year, accounting for 9.3% of the gross domestic product and 7.8% of the gross national income.
“Remittances provide a steady stream of foreign exchange to help offset the widening trade gap and limit the current account deficit. Together with business process outsourcing receipts, OF (overseas Filipino) remittance flows augment domestic wages, translating into potent purchasing power to fund household consumption, and even capital formation,” said Nicholas Mapa, senior economist of ING Bank Manila.
ING Bank is one of several preferred banks for OFW remittances.
At the same time, Mapa also noted spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus would certainly make a dent on the remittances in 2020, as it may affect deployment and actual work of Filipinos abroad.
“The outbreak also forces people to go into quarantine or affects consumption patterns which could have an adverse impact on the services industry, where most OFs are employed,” Mapa said.
“The recent plight of cruise ships around the world will likely put pressure on cruise liners and the hospitality industry as a whole, making it difficult for Filipinos to send home remittances should their salaries be curtailed or they lose their jobs altogether.” (ia/sovereignph.com)