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Growth in remittances slows in March

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Remittances from Filipinos abroad

By means of Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson, News reporter

MONEY SENT HOME from abroad Filipino employees (OFWs) in March reposted the slowest growth rate in nine months, data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed.

Remittances – which boost household spending – rose 2.5% to $2.74 billion in March, compared to $2.67 billion in the same month last year.

Growth in remittances slowed from the 3% recorded in February. It was also the slowest annual growth rate in nine months, or since 2.1% in June 2023.

Month on month, remittances through banks rose 3.5%, compared to $2.65 billion in February.

“The increase in personal remittances in March 2024 was due to remittances from agricultural workers with employment contracts of one year or more and maritime and agricultural workers with employment contracts of less than one year,” the BSP said.

Remittances sent by land-based workers rose 3% to $2.15 billion in March, while money sent by offshore workers rose 0.9% to $588.787 million.

“The slight dip can be attributed to exchange rate nuances, with the peso being much weaker in March 2024 than in March 2023,” ING Bank NV Manila senior economist Nicholas Antonio T. Mapa said in a Viber message.

“Slower inFlation for FThe first quarter of 2024 versus the corresponding quarter of last year could also be identified as one of the reasons for the slight underperformance,” he added.

In March, inflation accelerated to 3.7% from 3.4% in February. However, this was much slower than the 7.6% of a year earlier.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort noted that there was a seasonal increase in remittances due to the “holiday-related spending for the Holy Week in the latter part of March.”

Meanwhile, remittances rose 2.7% to $8.22 billion Ffirst quarter, compared to $8 billion in the same period a year ago.

“The growth in remittances from the United States (US), Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Singapore mainly contributed to the increase in remittances in the first quarter of 2024,” the central bank said .

In the January-March period, the United States accounted for 41.2% of total remittances. This was followed by Singapore (7.2%), Saudi Arabia (5.9%), Japan (5%) and the United Kingdom (4.4%).

Other sources of remittances included the UAE (4.3%), Canada (3.2%), Qatar (2.8%), Taiwan (2.8%) and Hong Kong (2.5%).

Meanwhile, personal remittances rose 2.6% to $3.05 billion in March, compared to $2.97 billion in the same month last year. In the FIn the first quarter, personal remittances rose 2.8% to $9.15 billion, compared to $8.9 billion a year ago.

Mr Ricafort said he expects modest growth in remittances in the coming months.

“In the coming months, single-digit growth in OFW remittances could still continue as OFW families continue to face relatively higher prices/incomes.Flocally, sending more remittances would be necessary,” he said.

Mr. Mapa said remittances remain a “stable and reliable source of foreign exchange and purchasing power for the Philippine economy.”

The BSP expects remittances to grow 3% this year.