October 12, 2009 05:41:00
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Remittances to the Philippines could grow 5 percent this year, higher than earlier estimates, as overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) send more money home to help their families recover from the calamity wrought by recent storms and floods, a senior government official said at the weekend.
Remittances, a driver of consumer spending that fuels more than two-thirds of the country’s gross domestic product, have held up well despite the global economic crisis, growing 3.8 percent in the seven months to July from last year.
“(A) 5-percent (growth) is possible,” Augusto Santos, head of the National Economic Development Authority, told reporters. “OFWs are scattered worldwide and OFWs tend to send more during calamities.”
Santos said the expected global economic recovery would also push up remittance inflows.
He said stronger-than-expected remittance growth this year would likely offset the impact of recent typhoons and allow the Philippines to meet its 0.8-1.8 percent 2009 growth target.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has officially forecast remittances this year to match the record $16.4-billion inflow in 2008.
BSP Governor Amando Tetangco earlier said 2009 remittances were expected to climb more than 3 percent.
“We are maintaining growth targets because typhoon damages are being offset by OFW remittances and spending on relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction,” Santos said.
Analysts expect remittances to grow 5.5 percent this year, higher than the International Monetary Fund’s 4-percent estimate.