By Michelle Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Posted date: October 15, 2009
MANILA, Philippines–Remittances continued to grow in August, with household consumption also seen to pick up, supporting growth of the overall economy, monetary officials said.
In August, remittances amounted to $1.4 billion, up 2.8 percent from that of the same month last year, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas reported on Thursday.
“Remittances from workers overseas continued to underpin the resilience of the economy, remaining a stable source of foreign exchange for the country,” BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said in a statement.
The August figure brought overall remittances in the first eight months of the year to $11.3 billion, up 3.7 percent year-on-year.
Remittances in the first eight months came mostly from Filipinos based in the United States, Canada, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, Japan, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Italy and Germany.
The central bank earlier projected that remittances would register a flat growth this year. The BSP has since revised its forecast to an average growth of 4 percent, saying that the global turmoil had little bearing on the amount of money sent in by workers abroad.
There had been layoffs in recession-stricken countries. But remittances still rose because newly deployed Filipinos outnumbered those who had lost their jobs.
According to the BSP, remittances may even grow faster in the last few months of the year, noting that workers tend to send in more money in time for Christmas.
It also said that, with the global economy now on its way to recovery, remittances could even surge in the months ahead.
“As recent developments point to improving global economic conditions, a more favorable outlook for remittances through end-2009 is anticipated,” Tetangco said.
He said agreements forged by the government with labor agencies in other countries also helped sustain the rise in deployment of Filipinos abroad. While countries in recession were laying off workers, alternative labor markets were demanding more Filipino workers.
Cash transfers from over nine million Filipinos working abroad are equivalent to nearly 10 percent of the country’s economic output.