Category : Press Release
Date : February 15, 2021
Agency : Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas
Title : Full-Year 2020 Personal Remittances Reach US$33.2 Billion; Represent 9.2 Percent of the Country’s GDP
Article : Personal remittances from Overseas Filipinos (OFs) fell slightly by 0.3 percent year-on-year to US$3.205 billion in December 2020 from US$3.216 billion in December 2019. The slight decrease was attributed to the 0.7 percent decrease in remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more to US$2.494 billion from US$2.512 billion recorded in December 2019. Meanwhile, remittances from sea-based workers and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year rose slightly by 0.8 percent to US$647 million in December 2020 from US$642 million in December 2019. The full-year 2020 personal remittances from OFs reached US$33.194 billion, lower by 0.8 percent than the US$33.467 billion recorded in 2019. Nonetheless, personal remittances remained a major source of the country’s foreign exchange inflows, with the 2020 level representing 9.2 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) and 8.5 percent of the gross national income (GNI).

Similarly, OFs’ cash remittances coursed through the banks fell slightly by 0.4 percent to US$2.89 billion in December 2020 from US$2.902 billion in December 2019. In particular, cash remittances from land-based workers fell by 0.7 percent to US$2.297 billion, while that of sea-based workers increased by 0.8 percent to US$593.2 million.

The full-year OFs’ cash remittances amounted to US$29.903 billion, lower by 0.8 percent than the US$30.133 billion registered in 2019. The actual annual decline in 2020 was, however, lower than the earlier forecast contraction of 2 percent for the year. By country source, cash remittances from Saudi Arabia, Japan, the United Kingdom (UK), the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Germany, and Kuwait declined, while those from the United States (US), Singapore, Canada, Hong Kong, Qatar, South Korea, and Taiwan increased. The US posted the highest share of the total remittances at 39.9 percent, followed by Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the UK, the UAE, Canada, Hong Kong, Qatar, and South Korea.(1) The combined remittances from these countries accounted for 78.6 percent of the total cash remittances.

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1There are some limitations on the remittance data by source. A common practice of remittance centers in various cities abroad is to course remittances through correspondent banks, most of which are located in the U.S. Also, remittances coursed through money couriers cannot be disaggregated by actual country source and are lodged under the country where the main offices are located, which, in many cases, is in the U.S. Therefore, the U.S. would appear to be the main source of OF remittances because banks attribute the origin of funds to the most immediate source. The countries are listed in order of their share of cash remittances, i.e., from highest to lowest.

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