Philippine Remittances See First Drop Since 2001

  • Remittances shrank by just less than 1% in 2020 despite the displacement of close to half a million overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) due to the global health crisis, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said.
  • BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said personal remittances slipped by 0.8%, while cash remittances coursed through banks also contracted by 0.8% in 2020.
  • This was way lower than the revised projection of a 2% contraction for 2020, but still ended 19 consecutive years of growth since 2001.
  • He said personal remittances reached USD33.19bn in 2020 or USD273mn lower than the record level of USD33.47bn in 2019.
  • The BSP chief pointed out that personal remittances accounted for 9.2% of gross domestic product (GDP) and 8.5% of gross national income (GNI) in 2020.
  • Data showed the US still accounted for the biggest share at 39.9%, followed by Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Japan, UK, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Hong Kong and South Korea.
  • “These countries accounted for 78.6% of the total cash remittances,” Diokno said.
  • For the month of Dec 20 alone, personal remittances declined by 0.3% y/y in Dec 20, while cash remittances slipped by 0.4% y/y.
  • Despite the decline, both personal and cash remittances still booked its highest level since Dec 19.
  • The BSP sees OFW remittances bouncing back with a 4% growth in 2021.

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