MANILA, Philippines - The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) yesterday reported that remittances in 2011 grew 7.2 percent year-on-year to $20.117 billion, slightly more than the official central bank forecast of seven percent for the whole year.
Fund transfers sent by Filipinos working and living abroad totaled $1.799 billion for the month of December alone, up 6.2 percent compared to last year and the highest monthly remittances recorded due to Holiday spending.
BSP Governor-in-Charge Juan de Zuniga Jr. said total remittances channeled through the formal banking system are equivalent to nine percent of gross domestic product for 2011. "(Remittances) continued to be a major contributor in stimulating domestic demand. It has remained resilient throughout the year amid the political turmoil in some parts of the Middle East and North Africa, the slowdown in global economic growth, and intensified financial strains brought about by the Euro area sovereign debt crisis."
Last year, BSP data show that remittances from land-based workers grew 5.5 percent while sea-based overseas Filipinos' remittances increased by 14 percent. The cash transfers of land-based workers accounted for 78.4 percent of total remittances.
The major sources of remittances were the US, Canada, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, Japan, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Italy, Germany and Norway.
Zuniga said highly skilled Filipino workers continue to be in demand overseas. He quoted a report from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration which showed that for January this year, 7,160 of the total approved job orders of 58,123 have been processed.
These were jobs in the service, production, and professional, technical and related job categories. The work destinations are mostly Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Taiwan, Singapore and Kuwait.
BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. said last month that for 2012, they expect remittances to grow by five percent, a forecast they announced earlier in 2011.
In actual value remittances this year is projected to reach $21.1 billion. "We have no plans yet of revising the five percent (target)," Tetangco said.
There are 8.9 million Filipino workers and migrants regularly remitting funds monthly or quarterly.
The growth in remittances is supported by increased capture of money transfers with banks' expanded offering of financial products and services to overseas Filipinos as well as establishing tie-ups with foreign services providers