Total cash remittance for July rose by 1.6 percent to $2.308 billion for land-based workers and $545 million for sea- based workers, or up by 6.9 percent.
FILIPINO migrant workers sent home their highest level of earnings to loved ones here in July, defying expectations amid a raging pandemic and widespread unemployment in the Philippines.
Total cash remittance for July—said to be the highest level for the year (outside of the traditional peak remittances in December for the Christmas spending)—rose by 1.6 percent to $2.308 billion for land-based workers and $545 million for sea- based workers, or up by 6.9 percent.
The strong July performance of remittances pushed the country’s cumulative cash remittances higher by 5.8 percent to $17.771 billion in the January-to-July period this year from $16.802 billion registered in the same period last year.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said the growth in cash remittances in the first seven months of 2021 came mainly from the United States, Malaysia and South Korea.
By country, the US registered the highest share of overall remittances at 40.4 percent in January to July 2021, followed by Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, South Korea, Qatar and Taiwan.
The combined remittances from these top 10 countries accounted for 78.6 percent of total cash remittances.
In a commentary after the data release, ING Bank economist Nicholas Mapa told Business Mirror that July remittance numbers “surprised on the upside” when the market had expected a pullback from last year’s level.
“The $2.85 billion worth of foreign currency sent home was impressive given that this was the highest non-December level recorded with the funds sent home in July matching that which is usually sent home during the Christmas season,” Mapa said.
“Secondly, the higher dollar amount also surprised us as overseas Filipinos had in the past opted to send home less remittances whenever the Peso tends to weaken as exchange rate dynamics help beneficiaries cover Peso needs with less dollars sent home,” he added.
In the coming months, Mapa said, remittance flows are expected to sustain their upward trajectory with Filipino migrant workers still finding a way to help support domestic consumption.
“With job losses back home elevated and the economy in recession, we expect OF remittances to accelerate to pick up the slack and boost local spending.
Sustained OF remittance flows coupled with the recovery in BPO [business-process outsourcing] receipts will help offset the widening trade deficit and limit the impact on the country’s current account,” Mapa added.
Last July 13, debt watcher, Fitch Ratings earlier cited the robust remittances from OFs as “green shoots” of recovery which help support the Philippine economy during the country’s worst health crisis, Rappler reported.
Worth noting here is that according to data of the Department of Foreign Affairs, as of Aug. 7, a total of 408,911 Filipinos (the biggest since the Gulf war) have been sent home during the pandemic.
Of these, at least 105,607 had been working on ships and 303,304 were land-based.
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