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OFW Remittance down by 8.3% in September

Remittance sent back home through banks by Filipinos working and living abroad declined 8.3 percent year-on-year to $2.186 billion in September partly due to the closure of a number of overseas money service providers, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said yesterday.

The latest BSP data showed cash remittances in September fell from $2.383 billion in the same month last year. It was also the lowest inflow in five months or since April’s $2.083 billion.

BSP data showed the year-on-year decline in September was the fastest since the 10.9-percent drop in April 2003.

Still, the inflows stayed above the $2-billion level for the 20th straight month.

BSP Governor Nestor A. Espenilla Jr. said there was an 11.7-percent drop in cash remittances from land-based workers, which offset the 6-percent rise in transfers from sea-based workers.

He said there were reports that a number of global correspondent banks have closed their money transfer businesses, reflective of the increasing global trend to reduce correspondent banking relationships and focus more on home market. “This may have partly affected remittances flows during the month.”

Espenilla said the biggest drops in remittances that month were recorded from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Australia.

“For Saudi Arabia, the decline could partly be the result of the continued repatriation of overseas Filipino workers under the Saudi Arabian amnesty program that started last March,” he said.

“On Sept. 26, the Saudi government extended the amnesty program anew and 8,467 undocumented Filipinos had availed themselves of the initial offer, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs,” Espenilla said.

From January to September, cash remittances reached $20.781 billion, up 3.8 percent from $20.025 billion in the nine-month period last year.

As of end-September, remittances from land-based and sea-based workers grew by 3.8 percent and 3.5 percent to reach $16.4 billion and $4.4 billion, respectively.

The top sources of remittances as of the end of September were Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States. The 10 countries accounted for almost three-fourths of the total.

Cash remittances are projected to hit $28 billion by the end of the year.

The BSP had kept the 4-percent remittances growth target for 2017, although the value of the updated projection made in June was higher than the earlier forecast of $27.7 billion.

Last year, cash sent home via banks reached a record $26.9 billion, up 5 percent from 2015’s $25.6 billion. – Inquirer

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