Personal remittances from overseas Filipinos (OFs) grew by 3.4 percent year-on-year in January 2019 to reach US$2.75 billion from US$2.66 billion, BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno announced today.1 Personal remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more rose to US$2.12 billion, 2.3 percent higher than US$2.07 billion recorded in January 2018. Meanwhile, those from sea-based and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year rose by 12.6 percent to US$0.58 billion from US$0.52 billion.

Cash remittances from OFs coursed through banks summed up to US$2.48 billion in January 2019, a 4.4 percent growth from US$2.38 billion last year. This growth was in line with the increase in remittances from both land-based (US$1.95 billion) and sea-based (US$0.53 billion) workers, which rose by 2.3 percent and 12.7 percent, respectively. By country source, the United States registered the highest share of overall remittances at 35.5 percent. It was followed by Saudi Arabia, Singapore, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Japan, Canada, Qatar, Hong Kong, and Kuwait.2 The combined remittances from these countries accounted for almost 78 percent of total cash remittances.

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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)