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2016 remittances to PHL exceed gov't growth target means BUSINESS

MANILA, Philippines - Cash inflows from overseas Filipinos exceeded the government’s 2016 target of four percent after it jumped to five percent.

Data released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Wednesday showed that total cash remittances last year reached $26.9 billion, higher than year-ago’s $25.61 billion.

Including in-kind remittances, this totaled to $29.71 billion, 4.9 percent higher than the $38.31 billion in the whole of 2015.

Last December alone, cash inflows posted a record-high of $2.6 billion, 3.6 percent higher than the $2.5 billion last year. It was also higher than month-ago’s $2.2 billion.

Personal remittances posted a new record level of $2.8 billion from year-ago’s $2.73 billion.

BSP Deputy Governor and officer-in-charge Diwa C. Guinigundo, in a statement, attributed the rise of personal remittances to the 7.6 percent increase of those sent by land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more to $23.2 billion.

“This made up for the 3.7 percent decline in remittances from sea-based and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year to reach $6.1 billion,” he said.

Guinigundo said the bulk of the cash inflows last December came from the US, Qatar, and Japan while for the whole of last year the majority of the remittances came from the US, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Singapore, UK, Japan, Qatar, Kuwait, Hong Kong and Germany.

He said cash inflows continued to rise because of improving global economic conditions.

Inflows from the Middle East rose 12.7 percent due to higher remittances from Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, and UAE.

Those from Asia went up 7.4 percent due to inflows from Singapore, Japan, China, and Taiwan.

Remittances from the Americas increased by 3.8 percent, with those from the US rising by 6.2 percent.

On the other hand, inflows from Europe declined 8.4 percent after the drop of cash transfers from the UK, due partly to depreciation of the pound sterling against the US dollar, as well as those from Italy, and the Netherlands.

The BSP said remittances continued to remain as among the strong legs of the domestic economy as it fueled domestic demand.

“In 2016, personal remittances represented 8.1 percent of the country’s gross national income (GNI) and 9.8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP),” it added.