OFW Dollar inflows up 6% to $ 6.2 Billon in first 4 months of 2011

Philippines – Remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) climbed six percent in the first four months of the year after recovering from a steady slowdown since November last year on the back of strong demand for skilled Filipino workers, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported yesterday.

BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. said that remittances from OFWs reached $6.21 billion during the first four months of the year or $350 million higher than the $5.86 billion recorded in the same period last year.

Tetangco said major sources of remittances in the first four months of the year were the US, Canada, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, Japan, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, and Italy.

The year-on-year growth in OFW remittances slowed down for four straight months after posting a 10.5 percent growth in November; 8.1 percent in December; 7.6 percent in January; 6.2 percent in February, and 4.1 percent in March due to disruptions caused by the tensions in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) states as well as the disasters in Japan.

The monthly growth recorded in March was the slowest since August 2009 when remittances posted a monthly growth of 2.8 percent.

However, remittance growth finally improved to 6.3 percent to $1.615 billion in April from $1.52 billion in the same month last year.

Tetangco reported that remittances from sea-based OFWs jumped 12.2 percent while remittances from land-based workers increased by 4.4 percent due to the steady demand for skilled Filipino workers as well as the expanding remittance centers abroad.

“Remittance flows continued to draw support from the steady overseas demand for Filipino skills and expertise and the continuing efforts of banks and other financial institutions to extensively promote and improve upon the financial products and services they offer in the remittance market,” the BSP chief stressed.

Data obtained from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) indicated that demand for Filipino workers abroad remained strong as job orders reached 269,386 in the first five months of the year of which 32 percent or 86,300 were already processed while 68 percent or 183,086 are still to be filled up.

The job orders were intended for the manpower requirements in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Taiwan and Hong Kong, among other countries.

Moreover, the POEA also reported that new rules have been issued to strengthen the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP) in Canada effective April 1 to better protect foreign workers and maintain the Canadian government’s focus on alleviating temporary labor shortages.

Tetangco added that banks and other financial institutions have also been actively introducing innovative remittance products by adding a remittance feature to credit cards which was recently introduced in the market.

The new innovations provide reliable services to enable OFWs to transfer money swiftly and securely to relatives back home.

“These initiatives are expected to encourage the use of the formal channels to capture a bigger share of the global remittance market,” he explained


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