A man counts a wad of Philippine peso bills at a money remittance center in Makati City, Sept.19, 2018. – REUTERS/ELOISA LOPEZ

By Luz Wendy T. Noble, Reporter

CASH REMITTANCES rebounded in June, as land-based overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) sent more money home as lockdown restrictions eased, the central bank data showed.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported cash remittances, which are coursed through banks, jumped 7.7% in June to $2.465 billion from $2.29 billion in the same month a year ago, “supported mainly by remittances from land-based workers.”

However, the BSP said there was a continued drop in sea-based workers’ remittances as many were repatriated amid the pandemic.

June saw a recovery in cash remittances, after three months of decline since March when lockdown restrictions were put in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Metro Manila was placed under a more relaxed general community quarantine starting June.

Month on month, inflows in June climbed 17% from the $2.106 billion logged in May.

However, for the first half, cash remittances slipped 4.2% to $14.019 billion from $14.638 billion a year ago.

By type of worker, cash remittances from land-based OFWs fell 4% year on year to $10.959 billion in the first semester from $11.411 billion a year ago. Remittances from OFWs working in ships and cruises dropped 5.2% to $3.06 billion.

The United States accounted for 39.7% of the inflows, followed by Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Canada, Hong Kong (HK), Qatar, and Taiwan. Together, these countries make up 78.9% of the total cash remittances.

“Remittances for January-June from the United States, Japan, Singapore, Oman and Taiwan were among the countries that registered continued growth, while declines were noted in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Germany and the UK,” the BSP said.

The central bank in June said it is projecting cash remittances to shrink by 5%.

Meanwhile, personal remittances that also take into account inflows in kind also rose 7.6% to $2.737 billion in June from $2.545 a year ago. However, year-to-date flows decreased 4.2% to $15.573 billion from the $16.252 billion in the first six months of 2019.

Since the pandemic began, the number of repatriated OFWs reached more than 135,000 as of mid-August. More than 52,000 of them were employed in ships and cruises, while about 82,000 had land-based jobs, according to data from the Department of Foreign Affairs.