Personal remittances from Overseas Filipinos (OFs) totaled US$16.3 billion in the first half () of 2019, a 2.9 percent growth, from the US$15.8 billion recorded in the same period last year. This was announced by BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno today.1

Personal remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more grew by 1.8 percent to US$12.4 billion in 2019 from US$12.2 billion in 2018. Similarly, personal remittances from sea-based workers and land-based workers with short-term contracts increased by 8.8 percent to US$3.5 billion in 2019 from US$3.2 billion in 2018. However, on a monthly basis, the amount of personal remittances in June 2019 decreased slightly by 2.7 percent to US$2.5 billion from US$2.6 billion in the same month a year ago.

For January to June 2019, cash remittances from OFs coursed through banks recorded a 3.2 percent growth to reach US$14.6 billion from US$14.2 billion in the same period last year. Cash remittances sent by land-based workers rose by 1.8 percent year-on-year (y-o-y) to US$11.4 billion, and transfers from sea-based workers grew by 8.7 percent y-o-y to US$3.2 billion. For June alone, however, cash remittances posted a 2.9 percent decrease to US$2.3 billion in 2019 from US$2.4 billion in the same period a year ago. This was attributed to the 5.4 percent y-o-y drop in cash remittances from land-based workers, which was mitigated by the 6.3 percent increase y-o-y in transfers from sea-based workers. The countries that contributed to the decline in June 2019 were Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

By country source, the US registered the highest share of overall remittances from January to June 2019 at 36.4 percent. It was followed by Saudi Arabia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, the UK, Japan, Canada, Hong Kong, Germany and Qatar.2The combined remittances from these countries accounted for 78 percent of total cash remittances from January to June 2019.

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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 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)