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OFW inflows up 8.5% to $1.372 billion in January

March 16, 2010

MANILA, PHILIPPINES–MONEY SENT HOME BY OVERSEAS FILIPINO WORKERS (OFWS) SURGED BY 8.5 PERCENT TO $1.372 BILLION IN JANUARY OR $107 MILLION MORE THAN THE $1.265 BILLION SENT HOME IN THE SAME PERIOD LAST YEAR, THE BANGKO SENTRAL NG PILIPINAS (BSP) REPORTED YESTERDAY.
BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. said that remittances from sea-based workers jumped by 18.1 percent while that from land-based workers went up by 6.3 percent.
He said the bulk, or 81.1 percent, of the total inflows in January came from the US, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Italy, and United Arab Emirates.
Tetangco pointed out that remittances from the US were buoyed by signs of economic recovery, rising by 5.1 percent after posting consecutive declines since January 2009.
“The steady inflow of remittances at the start of the year was supported by the continued strong demand for professional and skilled Filipino overseas workers, particularly in the healthcare, education and services sectors,” Tetangco said.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) anticipates that work prospects for Filipino overseas workers would continue to be favorable given the expected opening of new job markets and more opportunities for better-paying work in the next five to 10 years.
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) reported that 18,539 or nearly 19 percent of the total approved job orders of 98,845 in the first two months of the year have been processed.
The processed job orders were particularly strong for the manpower requirements of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Taiwan, and Qatar for service, production, and professional, technical and related occupations.
Tetangco also cited the expanding global network of remittance service providers through tie-ups with foreign financial institutions, establishment of remittance centers and marketing offices abroad also helped shore up the flow of remittances into the country.
The BSP earlier said OFW remittances in January grew by more than the full year growth target of six percent due to high demand for skilled Filipino workers abroad.
The BSP sees OFW remittances growing by six percent to a new record level of about $18.1 billion this year.
Last year, remittances went up by 5.4 percent to a new record level of $17.348 billion from $16.426 billion and exceeded the revised four percent growth forecast set by the central bank due to the steady growth of OFW remittances.
This after the money sent home by overseas Filipinos surged by 11.4 percent to hit a new monthly record high of $1.567 billion in December from $1.407 billion in December of 2008. The amount eclipsed the previous monthly record high of $1.531 billion registered last October.
The stronger-than-expected growth in remittances could also be traced to the decision of the Philippine government to conduct bilateral talks with host countries that continue to open up new employment opportunities abroad for Filipinos and to facilitate the hiring of displaced workers who were affected by the global economic difficulties.
Authorities also cited the continued expansion of remittance transfer facilities that has helped capture a large share of the global remittance market.
Commercial banks’ established tie-ups, remittance centers, correspondent banks, and branches or representative offices abroad increased to 4,192 as of 2009 from 3,015 as of 2008.
The BSP earlier inked a memorandum of agreement with member banks of the Association of Bank Remittance Officers Inc. (ABROI) allowing banks the use of the central bank’s Philippine Payments and Settlements Systems (PhilPaSS) to send the remitted money to the beneficiaries’ accounts in other banks.