By PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER
ASIA NEWS NETWORK
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas data released Monday showed that cash remittances reached $2.17 billion last February, the same amount as in January.
The February figure was up 3.4 per cent from $2.1 billion a year ago, although year-on-year growth was slower that last year’s 8.4 per cent and the previous month’s 8.6 per cent.
Monthly cash remittances have remained above $2 billion since February last year.
In a statement, the BSP said more than three-fourths or $1.7 billion of the cash remittances sent home in February came from land-based employees, while the remaining $500 million were from sea-based workers.
The top six contributors to cash remittance growth last February were Japan (up 11.3 percent year-on-year), Qatar (up 53.5 per cent), Singapore (up 17.5 per cent), Taiwan (up 64.4 per cent), the United Arab Emirates (up 23.7 per cent) and the United States (up 12.8 per cent).
But the BSP said remittances from Canada, China, Hong Kong and Kuwait posted declines in February.
End-February cash remittances amounted to $4.34 billion, 5.9-per cent higher than the $4.1 billion during the first two months of last year.
During the first two months, cash remittances from land-based workers rose by 9.1 percent to $3.5 billion, compensating for the decrease by 5 per cent to $900 million in sea-based workers’ transfers, the BSP said.
Nearly four-fifths of the cash remittances that reached the Philippines during the two-month period came from Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the UAE, the United Kingdom and the US.
For 2017, the BSP has projected a 4-percent growth in remittances.
In 2016, cash remittances reached a record $26.9 billion, up 5 percent from $25.61 billion in 2015.
Remittances are the biggest source of foreign exchange income for the country, helping insulate the domestic economy from external shocks by ensuring the steady supply of dollars in the system.