Philippines' May remittances highest in 5 months

Posted at 07/15/2014 7:02 PM | Updated as of 07/15/2014 9:04 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Remittances from overseas Filipino workers jumped to a 5-month high in May, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said.

Cash remittances, which help power domestic consumption, grew 5.4 percent in May from a year earlier, bringing total remittances in the first five months to $9.4 billion, or 5.7 percent higher than a year ago, the central bank said in a statement.

May cash remittances were $1.98 billion, the highest in a month since December's $2.17 billion.

Total personal remittances, which represent the sum of net compensation, household-to-household transfers in cash and kind, and capital transfers of overseas Filipino workers, rose an annual 5.5 percent in May to $2.2 billion. The five-month total rose 6.1 percent to $10.4 billion from a year earlier.

The major sources of cash remittances in May were overseas workers in the United States, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong.

The central bank expects remittances this year to grow 5 percent from last year's record $22.97 billion.

Steady remittances from Filipinos working and living overseas help support the country's foreign exchange reserves and keep the balance of payments (BOP) in surplus.

This year's BOP surplus is expected to reach $1.1 billion, narrower than the estimate of $3 billion made in December, due largely to higher import requirements, partly driven by reconstruction efforts after a strong typhoon late last year.

The government is targeting 6.5 to 7.5 percent GDP growth in 2014 after last year's 7.2 percent expansion, one of the fastest in Southeast Asia.