Remittances sent home by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) booked its smallest growth in more than a year due to the reimposition of strict COVID-19 lockdowns in host countries as well as the Philippines.
Data released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed personal remittances inched up by 1.2 percent to a three-month low of $2.79 billion in February from $2.76 billion in the same month last year.
This was the smallest growth since the 0.1 percent increase recorded in November 2020. Personal remittances contracted by 0.3 percent in December 2019 and by 1.7 percent in January 2021.
“The growth in personal remittances in February 2022 was slower, however, compared to that in January at 2.5 percent due in part to the reimposition of restrictions in OF host countries and the Philippines amid a resurgence in COVID cases across the globe,” the BSP said.
For the first two months of the year, personal remittances grew by 1.9 percent to $5.76 billion from $5.66 billion in the same period last year.
Likewise, the BSP said cash remittances coursed through banks went up by 1.3 percent to a three-month low of $2.51 billion in February from $2.48 billion in the same month last year. This was the smallest growth since the 0.3 percent recorded in November 2020.
Cash remittances also increased by 1.9 percent to $5.18 billion in January and February this year compared to $5.08 billion in the same period last year.
“The growth in cash remittances from the United States (US), Japan, and Singapore contributed largely to the increase in remittances in the first two months of 2022,” the central bank said.
The US registered the highest share of overall remittances at 41.6 percent in the first two months, followed by Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Taiwan, Qatar, and Malaysia.
The combined remittances from the Top 10 countries accounted for 79.3 percent of total cash remittances in January and February this year.
After growing by 5.1 percent last year to hit record levels, the BSP sees personal and cash remittances increasing by four percent this year.