Thursday, 16 July 2009

Philippine remittances hit record $1.48B in May

OF Remittances in First Five Months At US$7.0 Billion
Bangko Sentral
Media Releases

Remittances from overseas Filipinos (OFs) coursed through banks grew year-on-year by 3.7 percent in May 2009 to reach a record high of US$1.48 billion. The second highest level of remittances, at US$1.47 billion, was registered in March 2009. Cumulative remittances for the first five months of the year totaled US$6.98 billion, representing a 2.8 percent increment from the level recorded in the same period last year. Remittances from both sea-based and land-based workers posted gains at 4.6 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively.

“The stream of remittances from overseas Filipinos continued to show signs of strength despite lingering global economic fragilities, providing some basis for cautious optimism regarding steady remittance levels for 2009,” BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. said. Remittance flows continued to be underpinned by the steady demand for Filipino workers abroad, specifically professional and skilled workers, as well as the expanded access of overseas Filipinos and their beneficiaries to a wide range of financial products and services offered by banks and other financial institutions.

Demand for Filipino workers is expected to hold up as a result of hiring agreements forged between the Philippines and some host countries such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Australia and Japan. Recently, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reported that the Philippine government entered into a bilateral agreement with South Korea on the employment of Filipino overseas workers. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment and its South Korean counterpart in May 2009 aimed at hiring up to 5,000 Filipino workers in the South Korean manufacturing industry and other sectors within the next ten months. The DOLE also reported that the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Tripoli has started talks with the Libyan Health Ministry for the recruitment of about 4,000 Filipino medical workers in Libya.

Moreover, despite the relatively weak global economic environment, the Philippine government’s intensified efforts (such as employment facilitation programs) to assist retrenched overseas workers have contributed to the deceleration in the rise in the number of displaced OFWs.

Meanwhile, bank and non-bank service providers have been expanding their operations overseas and introducing new products and services to overseas Filipinos and their beneficiaries in the country.

For the period January-May 2009, the major sources of remittances were the U.S., Canada, Saudi Arabia, U.K., Japan, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Italy, and Germany.

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