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Sea-based workers' remittances grew 1.8% to $576 million in January from $565 million a year ago

Cash remittances up 3.5% in January
Keisha B. Ta-asan, March 16, 2023 |

MONEY SENT HOME by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) rose by 3.5% annually in January, as they sought to help their families cope with the rising cost of living.

Data released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed cash remittances coursed through banks jumped to $2.76 billion in January from $2.67 billion in the same month last year.

However, the amount of cash sent home by migrant Filipinos was the lowest in two months or since the $2.64 billion in November 2022.

Month on month, the growth in cash remittances slowed to 3.5% from 5.8% in December 2022.

The BSP expects remittances to grow by 4% this year.

“The expansion in cash remittances in January 2023 was due to the growth in receipts from land- and sea-based workers,” the BSP said in a statement on Wednesday.

Land-based OFWs sent $2.19 billion worth of remittances in January, up by 4% from $2.10 billion in the same month last year. Remittances from sea-based workers grew by 1.8% to $576 million in January from $565 million a year ago.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said OFWs may have sent more cash remittances in January as their families and dependents had to cope with rising inflation.

“(This was) offset by the fact that similarly higher prices/inflation in host countries could have also increased the cost of living of OFWs abroad, thereby could have been a drag on the amount of remittances sent to the country,” he said.

Headline inflation accelerated to 8.7% in January, from 8.1% in December. It was the fastest in over 14 years and marked the 10th consecutive month inflation was above the BSP’s 2-4% target range.

Core inflation, which discounts food and fuel volatile prices, jumped to 7.4% in January from 6.9% in December.

Migrant Filipinos were also likely encouraged to send more money after the holidays to take advantage of the favorable peso-dollar exchange rate.

“Still near record-high OFW remittances, on a monthly basis, also came amid the downward correction of the US dollar/peso exchange rate to P54.80-P55.00 levels recently, but still higher by about P4 or about 8% compared to P50.00-P51.00 levels in January 2022,” Mr. Ricafort said.

The local currency rebounded to the P54-a-dollar mark in January, closing the month at P54.64 on Jan. 31, up by P1.115 or 2.04% from its P55.755 finish on Dec. 29, 2022.

Meanwhile, cash remittances declined by 12.6% from the $3.16 billion in December, reflecting the seasonal dip in inflows after the holidays.

see also
OFW remittances seen to buck recession risk
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