Philippines: Remittances continue to grow albeit at a slower pace in March
May 16, 2011
In March, remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFW) rose 4.1% over the same month last year to reach USD 1.62 billion. The expansion represented a moderation compared to the 6.2% growth observed in February and, in fact, represented the slowest increase in remittances since August 2009. According to the Central Bank, some 80% of remittances were sent from the United States, European Union and the Middle East. Furthermore, the Bank stated that ?despite the ongoing social unrest in some parts of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and the string of disasters in Japan, remittances maintained a broadly steady pace of growth?. In the first quarter of the year, remittances amounted to USD 4.6 billion, which was 5.9% higher compared to the first three months of last year, where remittances totalled USD 4.3 billion. Remittances account for approximately 10% of GDP and are an important source of income for many Filipino families. Given the weight in the economy, the OFW funds sent over from abroad are a key driver of private consumption. Moreover, the steady flow of remittances supports the local currency.