Philippines: Cash remittances record largest fall in two years in March
Cash remittances from Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) fell 4.7% in March, marking the worst reading since March 2018 (February: +2.5% yoy). Accordingly, remittances totaled USD 2.4 billion in the month. According to the Central Bank, the drop was largely due to a reduction in migrants overseas, likely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and plunge in oil prices. Falling remittances were recorded from several oil producing countries, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
On a cumulative basis, remittances in the 12 months up to March came in at USD 30.2 billion, below the USD 30.4 billion recorded in the 12 months up to February.
Remittances, which accounted for close to 9% of GDP in 2019, are an important source of income for many Filipino families. However, the economic fallout of Covid-19 which has seen economies entering recession and unemployment rising will likely cause remittances to fall notably in the second quarter.