Personal remittances from overseas Filipinos (OFs) amounted to US$2.276 billion in April 2020, 16.1 percent lower than the US$2.713 billion recorded in April 2019. This brought the cumulative remittances for the first four months of the year to US$10.494 billion, a slight decrease of 2.9 percent from the US$ 10.811 billion recorded in the comparable period in 2019. Personal remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more declined to US$1.677 billion in April 2020, 17.9 percent lower than US$2.043 billion recorded in April 2019. Similarly, remittances from sea-based workers and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year fell by 10.2 percent to US$0.547 billion in April 2020 from US$0.609 billion a year ago.
OF cash remittances that are coursed through banks declined by 16.2 percent to US$2.046 billion in April 2020 from US$2.441 billion in April 2019. The decline in cash remittances was attributed to the unexpected repatriation of some OFs deployed in countries heavily affected by the pandemic, and temporary closure/limited operating hours of some banks and institutions from both the sending and receiving ends that provide money transfer services during the lockdown. For the period January–April 2020, cash remittances amounted to US$9.448 billion, 3 percent lower than the US$9.739 billion registered in the comparative period last year. This developed as remittances of both land-based and sea-based workers, fell by 3.5 percent (to US$7.335 billion from US$7.597 billion) and 1.3 percent (to US$2.114 billion from US$2.142 billion), respectively.
By country source, the United States registered the highest share to total OF remittances at 39.6 percent for January–April 2020. It was followed by Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Japan, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Canada, Qatar, Hong Kong, and Korea.1 The combined remittances from these countries accounted for 79.1 percent of total cash remittances.
1 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)