Philippines: Remittances growth plummets in March
In March, cash remittances from Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) reached USD 2.4 billion, a steep 9.8% contraction from the same month of the previous year. The reading contrasted February’s 4.5% year-on-year increase. March’s print partly reflected an unfavorable base effect following a sharp increase in remittances in March 2017 and continued repatriation of OFW from Middle Eastern countries.
The overall trend weakened, as cash remittances in the 12 months up to March totaled USD 28.1 billion, coming in below the USD 28.4 billion recorded in the 12 months up to February. March’s 12-month total was 2.6% higher than in the corresponding period last year but marked a moderation from the 4.5% annual increase observed in the 12 months up to February.
Remittances, which accounted for approximately 10.0% of GDP in 2017, are an important source of income for many Filipino families and thus constitute one of the main drivers of private consumption. The drop registered in March was mainly due to lower remittances from the United States, the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.