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November 18, 2008

Philippines: Crisis fails to stop rise in remittances
The millions of Filipino workers abroad sent home $12.3 billion in the first nine months of this year, a 17.1 increase despite a global slowdown that economists warned Monday may bite the local economy in 2009, reported Reuters.

Remittances, a key contributor to the Philippine economy, reached $1.3 billion in September alone, 16.9 percent higher than a year earlier, the central bank reported.

Central bank Governor Amando Tetangco said the continuous stream of remittances remains a source of strength for the economy during the ongoing global financial crisis. He attributed the rise to strong overseas demand for Filipino skills, and the greater availability of expanded money transfer services.

Nearly 10 percent of the country's 90 million people work overseas. The money they send home is equivalent to about 10 percent of the country's gross domestic product.

A research head at PCCI Securites Inc., James Lago, warned that the 2009 outlook remains bleak because overseas workers may return home from crisis-affected countries.

Remittances last year totaled $14.45 billion, and the government projected 2008 remittances to hit $15.7 billion.



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