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Philippines: Remittances growth plummets in March

Staff Writer | May 17, 2018
In March, cash remittances from Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) reached $2.4 billion, a steep 9.8% contraction from the same month of the previous year.
Philippines remittances
Philippines   FocusEconomics
The reading contrasted February’s 4.5% year-on-year increase. March’s print partly reflected an unfavorable base effect following a sharp increase in remittances in March 2017 and continued repatriation of OFW from Middle Eastern countries.

The overall trend weakened, as cash remittances in the 12 months up to March totaled $28.1 billion, coming in below the $28.4 billion recorded in the 12 months up to February.

March’s 12-month total was 2.6% higher than in the corresponding period last year but marked a moderation from the 4.5% annual increase observed in the 12 months up to February.

Remittances, which accounted for approximately 10.0% of GDP in 2017, are an important source of income for many Filipino families and thus constitute one of the main drivers of private consumption.

The drop registered in March was mainly due to lower remittances from the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect private consumption to grow 6.0% in 2018, which is unchanged from last month’s projection. For 2019, the panel expects private consumption to expand 5.9%.