MANILA – Remittances by Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) rose to US$2.31 billion in May 2017, 5.5 percent higher than the US$2.08 billion the previous month of April.
This brought the year-to-date cash remittances to US$11.35 billion, up 4.5 percent from year-ago’s US$10.86 billion, data released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas showed.
In a statement, BSP Governor Nestor A. Espenilla Jr. said expansion of cash remittances last May was fueled by the 6.2-percent rise of inflows from land-based OFWs, amounting to US$1.8 billion. This was helped by the 3-percent rise of those from sea-based workers, US$500 million.
Bulk of the cash remittances came from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Canada, Saudi Arabia and the United States, he said.
Including in-kind transfers, total remittances last May reached US$2.59 billion, 7.1 percent higher from the US$2.42 billion in the same period last year.
In the first five months of the year, total remittances amounted to US$12.61 billion, up 5.2 percent year-on-year.
Remittances have been among the major growth drivers of the Philippine economy for several decades now.
The World Bank recently said it continued to see robust performance for the Philippine economy in 2017, with growth projected at 6.8 percent. Such is within the government’s 6.5-7.5 percent growth target for the year.
The WB said remittances will continue to play a major role in the domestic expansion as it was expected to be the driver of strong consumption.
It forecast a “stable” growth for consumption this year at 5.6 percent and 6.1 percent next year, from 7.2 percent last year.
“The prospect of maintaining consumption growth at current levels over the medium term is supported by robust remittance flows,” the Bank said, citing the 8-percent remittances growth in the first quarter of 2017, up from 3 percent in the same period in 2016.
The central bank’s remittances growth target this year is 4 percent.
In 2016, remittances grew by 5 percent, higher than the 4-percent target of the central bank.