Manila: Cash remittances by Filipino migrant workers rose by 3.2% in March, a sign of better economic conditions in host countries, according to official figures.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) data showed cash remittances sent through banks stood at $2.59 billion in March, up from $2.51 billion in the same month in 2021.
It is the second-biggest foreign exchange inflow this year, following the $2.66-billion remittances reported in January.
In the first quarter of 2022, money sent home by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) rose by 2.4% to $7.77 billion, compared to $7.59 billion recorded the same period in 2021.
The United States, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Taiwan, Qatar, and Malaysia were the top 10 sources, accounting for 79.1% of total cash remittances in the first quarter.
Personal remittances, which include inflows in kind, increased by 3.1% to $2.88 billion from the $2.80 billion posted in March 2021, according to the country's central monetary authority.
Personal remittances were up 2.3% to $8.64 billion in Q1, from the $8.45 billion in the same period last year.
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Drop in OFW numbers
The number of Overseas Filipinos Workers (OFWs) dwindled during the pandemic, down to about 1.77 million in 2020 from 2.18 million reported in 2019.
After a drop recorded in 2020, personal remittances recovered in 2021, jumping by 5.1% to a record high of $34.88 billion in 2021 from $33.19 billion in 2020, exceeding the previous all-time high of $33.47 billion in 2019 or prior to the COVID outbreak.
This year, remittances are expected to be steady as deployment of Filipino migrant workers continues.
Analysts do not expect to an big spike in remittance growth this 2022 given the headwinds.
Top 10 sources
In terms of origin, the top sources of foreign exchange remittances to the Philippines are:
- Saudi Arabia