Personal remittances from Overseas Filipinos (OFs) grew for the second consecutive month, increasing by 7.6 percent year-on-year to US$3.085 billion in July 2020 from US$2.867 billion in July 2019. This brought the total remittances for the first seven months of 2020 to US$18.658 billion, 2.4 percent lower than the US$19.119 billion posted a year ago. The growth was attributed to the 12.6 percent increase in remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more to US$2.467 billion in July 2020 from US$2.192 billion in July 2019. Meanwhile, remittances from sea-based workers fell by 9.2 percent from US$613 million posted a year ago to US$557 million in July 2020 due mainly to the repatriation of sea-based workers amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Similarly, OF cash remittances that are coursed through the banks rose for the second month in a row, posting an increment of 7.8 percent to US$2.783 billion in July 2020 from US$2.581 billion in July 2019. This growth was mainly due to the 12.6 percent increase in land-based workers remittances, but was slightly tempered by the 9.2 percent decrease in sea-based workers’ remittances. For the period January–July 2020, the cumulative decline in cash remittances decelerated to 2.4 percent from 4.2 percent in June. Cash remittances from land-based and sea-based workers continued to be lower than their levels in 2019 by 1.5 percent to US$13.232 billion from US$13.429 billion, and 5.8 percent to US$3.57 billion from US$3.789 billion, respectively.
By country source, remittances for January-July 2020 from the United States, Japan, Singapore, Qatar and Taiwan were among the countries that registered continued growth, while declines were noted in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Germany, Kuwait and the UK. The highest share to total OF remittances at 40.1 percent for January–July 2020 emanated from the US, followed by Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Qatar, Hongkong, and Taiwan.1 The combined remittances from these countries accounted for 78.9 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)