Filipino remittances continue to thrive
The Philippines is routinely one of the leading countries individuals send money to, and through the first three months of the year, this standard held true.
According to a recently released report from Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, remittance flows to the country in March rose to $1.7 billion. That's a 5 percent increase when compared with the same month last year.
Through the first quarter of the year, total remittances sent to the Philippines amounted to $4.84 billion, which is about 5.5 percent ahead of last year's total of $4.59 billion through the same quarter.
Because Filiipinos' labor skills run the gamut, some work on land while others work at sea. As a result, the report breaks down where the remittances flows originated from. Through January to March, about $3.7 billion worth of money transfers was land-based with $1.1 billion was sea-based. Each logged an increase of 2.7 percent and 15.3 percent, respectively, on a quarter-over-quarter basis.
Amando Tetangco, governor of the BSP, noted that Filipinos were able to afford increasing their remittances home because their services were highly sought after by employers. This may be a sign the world economy is primed for recovery.
"Robust cash transfers in the first quarter of 2012 were supported by the sustained demand for Filipino manpower in various foreign labor markets," said Tetangco.
He added that based on data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, more than 68,700 job orders were received during the quarter for service, production, professional and technical workers. While some of these requests came from the U.S., others were from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore.
Thus far, BSP says the majority of remittances flowing to the Philippines originate from 10 countries: the United States, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the United Kingdom, Singapore, U.A.E., Germany, Italy and Hong Kong.
As noted by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, remittances often serve as a lifeline for Filipino families. Because the money sent home is so often used as a revenue source for consumption-related purposes – such as for fuel, food and utility payments – economic experts look to it as a key indicator for how the country's financial system is operating.