OFW personal remittance up at $2.8 billion in March

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 15) — Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are sending more money home.

Latest data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported that personal remittances from OFWs was at $2.8 billion in March, 6.4 percent higher than the $2.6 billion remitted the same month last year.

Cash remittances coursed through banks was at $2.5 billion, 6.6 percent higher than the $2.4 billion recorded in March 2018, with remittances coming mostly from the United States, Singapore, and the United Kingdom.

This brings the first quarter remittances to $8.1 billion in the first quarter of the year, 3.7 percent higher than the $7.8 billion remitted in the same period last year.

"The continued growth in personal remittances during the first three months of 2019 was driven by steady remittance inflows from land-based OF workers with work contracts of one year or more, which aggregated to US$6.2 billion, and compensation of sea-based workers and land-based workers with short-term contracts, which totaled US$1.7 billion," the BSP said in a statement.

Of this figure, $7.3 billion was from cash remittances, 4.2 percent higher than the $7 billion registered for the first three months of 2018.

OFWs from the United States continue to provide the highest share of remittances, followed by Saudi Arabia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Canada, Qatar, Hong Kong and Kuwait.

The remittances from those country amount to 78 percent of the total first quarter figure.

An estimated 10 million Filipinos -- or nearly a tenth of the population -- work abroad, remitting money that helps boost the country's economy. Last year they sent home nearly $32.1 billion.