June 19, 2018, 4:19 pm
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Remittances down 10%

In the first three months of 2018, cash remittances from overseas Filipinos coursed through banks stood at $7.0 billion, posting 0.8 percent growth from the level posted in the same period a year ago. Cash remittances sent by land-based workers and sea-based workers aggregated $5.6 billion and $1.4 billion, respectively, with growth of 0.4 percent and 2.3 percent. In March alone, total cash remittances fell by 9.8 percent year-on-year to $2.4 billion. This was attributed to the 9.7 percent drop in cash remittances from land-based workers and 10.2 percent decrease in transfers from sea-based workers. The countries that registered the biggest declines in cash remittances in March were Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, and the United States (US). The negative growth during the month was primarily due to base effect following the sharp increase in remittances in March 2017 at 10.7 percent.  Further contributing to the decline was the lesser number of banking days in March 2018 compared to the same month in 2017 since the celebration of the Holy Week happened during the last week of March as opposed to April in 2017.  Moreover, the continued repatriation of OF workers from the Middle East countries could have affected the inflows of cash remittances. Preliminary data from the Department of Labor and Employment indicated that as of 8 Feb 2018, a total of 1,124 OF workers were repatriated from Kuwait. Cash remittances coming from the US, UAE, Japan, Singapore, United Kingdom, Canada, Qatar, Germany and Hong Kong comprised 80.1 percent of total cash remittances in the first quarter of 2018.2 Personal remittances, meanwhile, reached $7.8 billion in the first quarter of 2018, registering 1.3 percent year-on-year growth. The bulk or 77.5 percent of personal remittances was from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more, which summed up to $6.1 billion, while 20 percent derived from sea-based and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year, amounting to $1.6 However, personal remittances in March 2018, at $2.6 billion, were 9.9 percent lower than the level posted in the same month last year.
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