BSP: Overseas Filipinos sent more money home in May

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 18) — Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) sent more money home in May than a year ago, data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed.

In a statement, the central bank said personal remittance grew by 6.1 percent year-on-year to $2.7 billion in May, bringing the total personal remittance in the first five months of the year to $13.2 billion, or 4.4. percent higher than the same period in 2017.

An analyst said money sent for school expenses and the weak peso may have been the reasons for the higher inflow.

Classes in most schools in the country begin in June. The peso averaged ₱52.19 against the dollar in May, even lower than April's ₱52.09.

"May is usually enrolment month and the tendency of many OFWs is to send money for enrolment fees. The increase may have also been due to the weaker peso and OFWs get more from what they usually send," UnionBank Chief Economist Ruben Asuncion told CNN Philippines in a message.

Meanwhile, cash remittances—or money sent through banks—also went up by 6.9 percent to $2.5 billion in May. Cash remittances totalled $11.8 billion for the first five months, or 4.2 percent higher than the same period last year.

The main growth drivers in cash remittance were the U.S., the United Kingdom and Singapore.

Asuncion said higher inflows will be posted in the next months, with the government setting a remittance goal that is 4 percent higher than last year's $28.06 billion.

"I see remittances to continue to grow despite external headwinds. I expect government growth target for remittances to be met by the end of 2018," he said.