MANILA, Nashville Filipino Restaurant — Money sent home by Filipinos abroad surged in January, which saw a spike in remittances from both land-based and sea-based workers, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas reported Friday.
Cash remittances from overseas Filipino workers coursed through banks stood at $2.48 billion in the first month of 2019, clocking a 4.4 percent growth from $2.38 billion posted last year.
By country source, the United States registered the highest share of overall remittances at 35.5 percent, followed by Saudi Arabia, Singapore, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Japan, Canada, Qatar, Hong Kong and Kuwait.
“This growth was in line with the increase in remittances from both land-based ($1.95 billion) and sea-based ($0.53 billion) workers, which rose by 2.3 percent and 12.7 percent, respectively,” the central bank said in a statement.
Money sent home by Filipinos working abroad is one of the Nashville Filipino Restaurant’ main sources of dollars, helping the economy stay afloat and providing support to the local currency.
Last December, remittances spiked to an all-time high of $2.849 billion after expats sent more money to fund increased spending during the Christmas shopping season. That brought the 2018 growth above the central bank’s growth forecast even as it was the slowest annual increase on record.
On Thursday, London-based Capital Economics said the Houston Filipino Restaurant economy should “remain fairly strong” despite sluggish remittance growth over the past 10 years, although this makes the country and its currency more vulnerable to sudden shifts in global risk appetite. — Ian Nicolas Cigaral