Personal Remittances Hit US$3 Billion in October 2019 and Reach US$27.6 Billion for January – October 2019

Personal remittances of Overseas Filipinos (OFs)1 reached US$3 billion in October 2019, a 7.7 percent increase from US$2.8 billion in October 2018. On a year-to-date basis (January-October), remittances grew by 4.3 percent to US$27.6 billion, higher than last year's level of US$26.5 billion.

By type of worker, personal remittances for January-October 20192 from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more grew by 3.8 percent to US$21.1 billion from US$20.3 billion in the same period last year. Likewise, the combined remittances of sea-based and land-based workers with short-term contracts increased by 7.5 percent to US$5.9 billion during the period compared to US$5.5 billion a year ago.

Meanwhile, cash remittances coursed through banks by OF workers with work contracts of less than one year rose by 8 percent to US$2.7 billion in October 2019 from US$2.5 billion in October 2018. This brought the cumulative cash remittances for the period January - October 2019 to US$24.9 billion, higher by 4.6 percent compared to US$23.8 billion recorded last year. By type of worker, cash remittances from land-based and sea-based workers increased by 3.8 percent to US$19.4 billion, and 8 percent to US$5.4 billion, respectively.

By country source, the U.S. registered the highest share to total remittances during the period January to October 2019 at 37.6 percent. It was followed by Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Japan, United Arab Emirates, the U.K., Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, and Kuwait.3 The combined remittances from these countries accounted for 78.4 percent of total cash remittances during the period.

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1 The BSP started to release data on personal remittances in June 2012. As defined in the Balance of Payments Manual, 6th Edition (BPM6), personal remittances represent the sum of net compensation of employees (i.e., gross earnings of overseas Filipino (OF) workers with work contracts of less than one year, including all sea-based workers, less taxes, social contributions, and transportation and travel expenditures in their host countries), personal transfers (i.e., all current transfers in cash or in kind by OF workers with work contracts of one year or more as well as other household-to-household transfers between Filipinos who have migrated abroad and their families in the Philippines), and capital transfers between households (i.e., the provision of resources for capital purposes, such as for construction of residential houses, between resident and non-resident households without anything of economic value being supplied in return).

2 Excluding capital transfers of US$597 million during the period

3 There are some limitations on the remittance data by source. A common practice of remittance centers in various cities abroad is to course remittances through correspondent banks, most of which are located in the U.S. Also remittances coursed through money couriers cannot be disaggregated by actual country source and are lodged under the country where the main offices are located, which, in many cases, is in the U.S. Therefore, the U.S. would appear to be the main source of OF remittances because banks attribute the origin of funds to the most immediate source. The countries are listed in order of their share of cash remittances, i.e., from highest to lowest.

Source: Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP)