Remittances from overseas Filipinos down in August —BSP

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 15) The money sent home by Filipinos abroad in August was lower than a year ago, the central bank said Monday.

In a statement, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said personal remittances dropped by 1.4 percent in August compared to that of the same month in 2017.

This brought the total personal remittances in the first eight months of 2018 to $21.2 billion, or 2.4 percent higher than the same period last year.

Meanwhile, cash remittances -- or money sent through banks -- also went down to $2.5 billion or by 0.9 percent in August on the back of smaller flows from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Cash remittances totalled $19.1 billion for the first eight months, or 2.5 percent higher than that of the same period last year.

The BSP said the United States remained as the main growth driver in cash remittances, followed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Japan, the United Kingdom, Qatar, Canada, Germany and Hong Kong. These countries, it noted, accumulated 79 percent of the total inflows for the period.

UnionBank Chief Economist Ruben Asuncion said Filipino workers abroad may be just waiting for the year-end to send remittances in time for the Christmas season, hence the decline.

"I expected a lower-than-the-year-average 2-percent growth for August 2018. With the year-on-year decline in remittances, I expect that there will be a softness in domestic demand, but I still expect a robust third quarter growth result, stronger than previous quarter," he said in a message.