Philippines: Remittances climb in April despite headwinds

MANILA, Philippines — Money sent home by overseas Filipinos to their families rose in April, despite recession concerns plaguing developed economies.

Data released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas on Thursday showed that remittances coursed through banks grew 3.7% year-on-year to $2.48 billion in April. 

Remittances expanded 3.2% on-year to $10.49 billion in the first four months.

Money sent home by overseas Filipinos considered a cornerstone of the consumer-dependent domestic economy, posted its largest cash haul of $32.54 billion in 2022. This was despite being a year removed from the pandemic which crashed the global economy and forced overseas Filipinos to go home in droves because of layoffs and businesses going under.

The year opened with much of the same headwinds, such as a projected global recession, brutal inflation, and expensive borrowing costs that continued to cast a shroud over the global economy.

Developed economies, including Germany and other countries in Europe, slid into an economic recession early this year as inflation swallowed up growth. Data from Statista showed 9.3% of the total overseas Filipino workers deployed around the world in 2021 worked in Europe.

For 2023, the BSP forecast that cash remittances would expand by 3% on an annual basis.

Nicholas Antonio Mapa, senior economist at ING Bank in Manila, projects remittances to expand amid headwinds. 

“Remittance growth to be sustained at roughly 3-4 percent for the rest of the year as OF deployment continues and global growth chugs along. This provides a stable source of fx while also delivering a source of peso consumption,” he said in a Viber message.

Data broken down showed 41.3% of cash remittances came from the United States, followed by inflows from Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Japan, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Qatar, South Korea, and Taiwan. 

Remittances from land-based workers rose 4% on-year to $1.94 billion in April while money sent home by sea-based workers grew 2.7% on an annual basis to $550 million. — Ramon Royandoyan