MANILA, Philippines - First Metro Investment Corp. (FMIC), a unit of the Metrobank Group, and the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) see the amount of money being sent home by Filipinos abroad growing between five percent and seven percent this year.
In its December Market Call, the investment bank and think tank said overseas Filipino workers’ (OFW) remittances would remain robust this year as the deployment ban in some countries in the Middle East and North African (MENA) states have been lifted as well as employment opportunities under the Philippine-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (PJEPA).
“We believe that remittances will continue to be resilient in 2012 with a five-to-seven percent improvement, especially with the recent lifting of deployment ban to Afghanistan and the previous announcement of sending more nurses to Japan as part of the PJEPA,” the study said.
Latest data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed OFW remittances climbed seven percent to $16.534 billion in the first 10 months of last year from $15.456 billion in the same period in 2010.
OFW remittances climbed 6.2 percent to hit a new monthly record of $1.78 billion in October, erasing the previous record of $1.737 billion booked last June due to higher cash transfers by Filipinos abroad to their beneficiaries who were affected by typhoons Quiel and Pedring last September.
FMIC and UA&P said dollar remittances remained robust and unfailingly surpassed their year-ago levels each month.
However, the study pointed out that the year-on-year growth rates on a quarterly basis have been at a decelerating pace of seven percent to six percent in the first quarter, 6.8 percent to 6.7 percent in the second, and 9.5 percent to 8.6 percent in the third quarter.
Likewise, they added that the year-on-year growth in October remittances was slower at 6.2 percent from 9.3 percent.
“These slower pace of remittances this year can be attributed to the repatriation of OFWs. During the first half of 2011, there have been several news items about Filipinos working in the Middle East returning to the Philippines due to the political unrest in countries like Libya and Egypt,” the study said.
The study pointed out that OFW remittances likely grew between six percent and eight percent last year as the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) provided various programs within the country which were taken as an alternative to working abroad.
They also cited the high demand for Filipino workers abroad as the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) reported that there was an 11.6 percent increase in the number of approved job orders from January to November last year. - By Lawrence Agcaoili