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Money sent home by up to 10 million overseas Filipinos still topped $2 billion in August, marking the third month in a series this has happened, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), said on Monday.

According to the BSP, overseas Filipinos remitted just a little over $2 billion each time in June, July and then again in August when the foreign currency earnings sent to beneficiary families topped the $2- billion mark.

As a result, the eight-month personal remittance level already totaled $15.8 billion or 5.6 percent more year-to-date.

Personal remittances in August alone rose 7.9 percent year-on-year to $2 billion, BSP Deputy Governor and Officer in Charge Juan de Zuñiga Jr. said.

The growth in remittances, he said, was "sustained by higher personal transfers from land-based overseas Filipino workers with work contracts of one year or more [by 3.3 percent], as well as sea-based workers and land-based workers with short-term contracts [by 13.3 percent]."

Cash remittances from overseas Filipinos through banks also expanded by 5.5 percent to $13.7 billion in the first eight months versus the level registered in the same period last year.

Sustained cash remittance was seen from both sea-based overseas

Filipinos remitting $3.2 billion and land-based overseas Filipinos remitting another $10.5 billion.

Zuñiga said the bulk or 43.1 percent of remittances were sent from the US, 9.5 percent from Canada, 7.7 percent from Saudi Arabia, 4.9 percent from the United Kingdom, also 4.9 percent from Japan, 4.2 percent from the United Arab Emirates and 4 percent from Singapore.

"With expectations of sustained demand for skilled Filipino workers overseas, remittances are projected to continue to boost economic activity and provide a steady supply of foreign exchange," Zuñiga added.

Analysts have said the remittances were to remain robust no matter the economic crisis in many of the countries hosting overseas Filipino workers, such as countries under the European Union and the United States, for example.

The remittances, in addition to portfolio, as well as foreign direct investment, have been attracted to emerging markets like the Philippines where the return on placements is significantly higher than that found in the US or the euro zone.

But because a good part of the country's output is derived from its export activities, analysts believe the BSP will help moderate any sudden surges in the value of the local currency to maintain competitive pricing on those exports. Nevertheless, the Manila unit of the financial services giant Citigroup said the local currency was likely to strengthen to around P40.80 for every dollar at some point over the long horizon.

It already averaged P41.49 per dollar on Monday at the Philippine Dealing and Exchange Corp., the country's foreign currency market.

Source: Jun Vallecera, Bussiness Mirror, 15 October 2012
Link: http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/news/top-news/610-15-8-b-remittances-registered-from-january-to-august-bsp


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