By Luz Wendy T. Noble, Reporter
Money sent in by migrant Filipino workers rose for the 10th straight month in November, according to the Philippine central bank, helping fuel consumption during the holidays.
Cash remittances coursed through banks rose by 5.1% in November from a year earlier to $2.502 billion, based on data released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Friday. It was 11% lower than a month earlier.
“November 2021 remittance inflows signal seasonal growth as more Filipino workers sent money and helped their families celebrate the holidays,” Ruben Carlo O. Asuncion, chief economist at UnionBank of the Philippines, Inc. said in a Viber message.
“Robust growth is expected for the rest of 2021 and will bode well for domestic consumption recovery for the past quarter,” he added. Remittances fuel consumption, which accounts for 70% of the Philippine economy.
Household spending rose by 7.1% year on year in the third quarter, slower than in the previous quarter. The economy expanded by 7.1% during the quarter, bringing year to date growth to 4.9%.
Remittances have continued to recover from their year-ago levels as more Filipinos got deployed overseas, said Ser Percival K. Peña-Reyes, associate director at the Ateneo de Manila University Center for Economic Research and Development.
“There was easing in restrictions so more Filipinos got deployed,” he said by telephone. “These remittances are also their help for their families given not much has changed to our consumption- and service-based economy.”
Cash remittances in the 11 months to November rose by 5.2% to $28.43 billion.
The US was the top remittance source, followed by Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Japan, United Kingdom, Canada, Taiwan, Qatar and South Korea, which together accounted for 78.9% of inflows.
Meanwhile, personal remittances, which include inflows in kind, rose by 4.8% to $2.77 billion in November from a year earlier, bringing the 11-month inflows to $31.586 billion, which was 5.3% higher.
It remains uncertain whether the highly mutated Omicron coronavirus variant would cloud remittance inflows in the next months, Mr. Reyes said. He added that the government should improve its pandemic response.
The central bank had forecast cash remittances to have grown by 6% last year and by 4% this year.