Personal remittances from overseas Filipinos amounted to US$2.761 billion in February 2021, higher by 5.3% than the recorded figure in February 2020 of US$2.623 billion.
The increase in personal remittances was attributed to the 7.8% growth in remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more to US$2.152 billion from the US$1.997 billion recorded in February 2020.
However, remittances from sea-based workers and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year decreased significantly by 4.6% to US$540 million from US$566 million last year. Despite the lack in remittances recorded in January 2021, on a cumulative basis, remittances for the first two months of 2021 reached US$5.655 billion, signifying a 1.6% growth year-on-year from the US$5.566 billion recorded in the comparable period in 2020.
Furthermore, cash remittances from overseas Filipinos through banks jumped by 5.1% to US$2.477 billion in February 2021 from US$2.358 billion in the comparable month a year ago. Specifically, cash remittances from land-based workers increased by 7.8% to US$1.982 billion, while that of sea-based workers decreased by 4.6% to US$495 million.
For the first two months of 2021, cash remittances amounted to US$5.08 billion which is an increase of 1.5% in comparison to the US$5.006 billion level for the same period last year.
The growth in cash remittances for January–February 2021 came mainly from the United States (US), Malaysia, and Singapore. Meanwhile, in terms of country sources, the US registered the highest share to overall remittances at 41% for the first two months, followed by Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Qatar. The combined remittances from these top 10 countries accounted for 78.3% of total cash remittances.
There are some limitations on the remittance data by source. A common practice of remittance centers in various cities abroad is to course remittances through correspondent banks, most of which are located in the U.S. Also, remittances coursed through money couriers cannot be disaggregated by actual country source and are lodged under the country where the main offices are located, which, in many cases, is in the U.S. Therefore, the U.S. would appear to be the main source of OF remittances because banks attribute the origin of funds to the most immediate source. The countries are listed in order of their share of cash remittances, i.e., from highest to lowest.
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