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Remittances post record high in 2019, says BSP

Remittances from overseas Filipinos rebounded in December to bring 2019 inflows to a record high, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported Monday.

Data released by the central bank showed that personal remittances -- the sum of transfers sent in cash or in-kind via informal channels -- increased by 1.9% to $3.216 billion in December last year.

This compares with the $2.639 billion in November 2019, and the $3.157 billion in December 2018.

This brought the full-year 2019 remittance figure up by 3.9% to $33.467 billion from the $32.213 billion recorded in 2018.

"The sustained growth in personal remittances during the year was primarily driven by the 3.5% increase in remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more," the BSP said in an accompanying statement.

The BSP said personal remittances accounted for 9.3% of the gross domestic product (GDP), and 7.8% of the gross national income (GNI).

Meanwhile, cash remittances -- money transfers coursed through banks -- rose by 1.9% to $2.902 billion from $2.809 billion in December 2018.

This brought the 2019 full-year cash remittances up 4.1% to $30.133 billion versus the $28.943 billion recorded in 2018.

"Notwithstanding pockets of political uncertainties across the globe, cash remittances in 2019 remained strong," said the BSP.

Inward remittances from Asia grew 12.3%, the Americas by 10.6%, and Africa by 4.8%, which offset the 9.8% decline from the Middle East.

The United States remained the largest source of remittances, accounting for 37.6%. It was followed by Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, the UK, Canada, Hong Kong, Germany, and Kuwait which accounted for 78.4% of total cash remittances during the period. — RSJ, GMA News