Philippines: Cash remittances surge to record high in December
February 15, 2019
Cash remittances from Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) rose to USD 2.8 billion in December, a 3.9% increase compared to the same month of the previous year. This was up from the 2.8% year-on-year rise registered in November, when remittances totaled USD 2.3 billion, and marked an all-time high. December’s surge came on the back of soaring remittance inflows from the U.S. and Canada during the Christmas holiday season. Historically, December is normally the strongest month for remittances during the year, as overseas Filipino workers send money home for the holiday. Subsequently, solid cash remittances throughout the fourth quarter should have supported robust private outlays in Q4.
Overall, cash transfers totaled USD 28.9 billion in 2018, which was 3.1% higher than 2017’s USD 28.1 billion total and was also a record performance. Consequently, remittances accounted for nearly 9% of GDP in 2018, a notch below the percentage seen in 2017. Notably, the robust expansion in the U.S. played a key role in the uptick. Other main contributors were Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Singapore, the U.K., Qatar, Canada, Germany and Hong Kong, which together with the States accounted for nearly 79% of all cash remittances.
Philippines Private Consumption Forecast
FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect private consumption to grow 5.6% in 2019, which is up 0.1 percentage points from last month’s forecast, and 5.6% again in 2020.
Author: Lindsey Ice, Economist