ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Overseas funds to Philippines increase
Funds sent home by overseas Filipino workers maintained growth for a fourth month this year, according to the Philippine central bank. In a statement, Bangko Sentral Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said remittances grew 5.4 percent to $1.5 billion in April from $1.44 billion in the same month last year.
As a result, cumulative remittances for the first four months of this year amounted to $5.9 billion, representing a 6.6-percent increase year-on-year, the Central Bank said, as reported in the Manila Times.
The central bank forecast remittances to grow by 8 percent this year, up from an earlier projection of 6 percent.
“Notwithstanding concerns over sovereign debt problems in some European countries, remittances from overseas Filipinos continued to show strength amidst the gradual recovery of the global economy.
Remittance flows were reinforced by the steady demand for Filipino workers abroad, specifically professional and skilled workers, as well as the expanded access of overseas Filipinos and their beneficiaries to an increasing range of financial products and services offered by banks and other financial institutions,” Tetangco said.
Preliminary data obtained from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration indicated that workers classified as new hires with processed contracts and awaiting deployment rose by 11 percent to 137,888 at end-April, from 124,170 in the same four-month period last year.
Approved job orders aggregated 295,373, of which about a third consisted of processed job orders for service, professional, technical and production and related workers.
The enforcement of the Asean-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement in January this year is also expected to open up more job opportunities for Filipino nurses and engineers, the central bank said.
At end-April, 81.4 percent of the total remittances reported by local banks were sourced from the United States, Canada, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, Japan, Singapore, United Arab Emirates and Italy.
The resilience of remittances has allowed the Philippines to enjoy a $982-million balance of payments surplus at in April or three times the $255-million surplus in March.
This brought the cumulative surplus to $2.345 billion in the first four months of the year, or 72 percent higher than the $1.363 billion registered a month before.