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31 Mar 2009

WB forecasts 4% decline in remittances to Philippines

Remittances this year by Filipino expatriates could decline 4 percent on an expected deceleration in the deployment of migrant workers amid the global economic downturn, according to a senior World Bank economist.

“We expect a 4 percent decline in remittances as migrant stock isn’t increasing at the same rate as before, fewer people are sending money home,” said Dilip Ratha, the lead economist of the World Bank’s migration and remittances development prospects group.

Based on World Bank figures, overseas workers’ remittances last year reached $18 billion, Ratha said.

The figure is higher than the Philippine central bank’s official estimate of $16.4 billion for 2008. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor Diwa Gunigundo said the World Bank’s estimate includes funds sent by workers through informal channels.

Speaking before an international forum sponsored by the BSP, Ratha said remittances could also be adversely affected by compensation cuts amid the slowing global economy.

“Workers are suffering from wage cuts and this could affect their ability to send money. I believe though that migrants will try to absorb the income shock and try to send the same amount of money as before,” he said.

BSP’s Gunigundo, however, said the central bank is optimistic that remittances this year will match last year’ total of $16.4 billion.




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