MANILA: Personal remittances from overseas Filipinos has reached 7.8 billion U.S. dollars in the first quarter of 2018, registering 1.3 percent year-on-year growth, the Central Bank of the Philippines said on Wednesday.
Central Bank officer-in-charge Diwa Guinigundo said the bulk, or 77.5 percent of personal remittances, was from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more, which summed up to 6.1 billion U.S. dollars, while 20 percent derived from sea-based and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year, amounting to 1.6 billion U.S. dollars for the same period, reports Xinhua.However, Guinigundo said personal remittances in March 2018 was 2.6 billion U.S. dollars, or 9.9 percent lower than the level posted in the same month last year.
In the first three months of 2018, the Central Bank said cash remittances from overseas Filipinos coursed through banks stood at 7.0 billion U.S. dollars, posting 0.8 percent growth from the level posted in the same period a year ago.
In March alone, total cash remittances fell by 9.8 percent year-on-year to 2.4 billion U.S. dollars.
The countries that registered the biggest declines in cash remittances in March were Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, and the United States.
"The negative growth during the month was primarily due to the base effect following the sharp increase in remittances in March 2017 at 10.7 percent," the Central Bank said.
Further contributing to the decline was the lesser number of banking days in March 2018 compared to the same month in 2017 since the celebration of the Holy Week happened during the last week of March as opposed to April in 2017.Moreover, the continued repatriation of overseas Filipino workers from the Middle East countries could have affected the inflows of cash remittances.
Preliminary data from the Department of Labor and Employment indicated that as of Feb. 8, a total of 1,124 overseas Filipino workers were repatriated from Kuwait, the Central Bank said.