Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Despite the hard times, Filipinos in America sent home nearly $6 billion in the first nine months of 2010, according to statistics from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

They remitted more than $5.8 billion – an 8.6 percent jump over the same period last year.

Remittances from the United States actually shrank by 6.4 percent last year – from $7.8 billion in 2008 to $7.3 billion in 2009 – that’s largely blamed on the economic recession.

That was the first time remittance from the US posted a negative growth rate – a stark contrast to as recent as 2005 when remittance from the US grew by a whopping 31 percent.

But with the three most active months for sending dollars home still to come, US-based Pinoys have a shot at matching or even exceeding the 2009 level.

If the unprecedented dip in remittance in 2008-2009 is a gauge, the modest growth in remittance in the first three quarters could be seen as a sign the worst of the US economic crisis may be behind us.

However, BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Gunigundo had warned earlier that dollar remittances may have peaked, auguring an era of diminishing or zero growth.

Gunigundo surmised that as more Pinoy immigrants retire, succeeding Fil-Am generations may not be as motivated to send money home.

Dollars from Pinoys and Fil-Ams is important because they account for over 40 percent of the gross remittance to the Philippines.

Total remittances from overseas Filipinos around the world hit $13.8 billion in the first three quarters of 2010 – a 7.8 percent increase from the same period last year.

The BSP partly attributed the continued growth in dollar remittances to the “expanding international remittance transfer of bank and non-bank channels”.

BSP statistics show that the number of bank branches and remittance centers increased to nearly 4,400 from the 3,730 operating at the end of 2009.

Remittance from overseas Filipinos represents 10-15 percent of the Philippine Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The bulk of the growth in dollar remittances from the US could be traced to sea-based Filipinos including mariners aboard US-owned ships and service workers and entertainers on cruise ships in the US and Caribbean region.

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