Remittances depend on global recovery

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GROWTH of inflows from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) will be driven by the recovery of other countries as coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) infections rise anew.

On Friday, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported the 5.1 percent year-on-year jump of cash remittances in November 2021 to $2.502 billion while cumulative inflows increased by 5.2 percent to $28.43 billion.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. chief economist Michael Ricafort said in a report that remittance inflows two months ago were the lowest in the past six months “but still sharply higher from the worst/lowest levels seen in April-May 2020 at the height of the Covid-19 lockdowns/stay-at-home orders in many host countries around the world.”

BSP data showed that cash remittances amounted to $2.64 billion in June 2021 while these reached $2.05 billion in April 2020 and $2.11 billion the following month.

Ricafort said OFW remittances are expected to get another hit after countries reimplemented stricter quarantine measures to address a fresh wave of Covid-19 infections.

“An offsetting positive factor is the fact that some OFWs work as frontliners especially in the health/medical sector and other essential industries, enabling some of them to continue working and sending remittances to the Philippines especially since the Covid-19 pandemic started,” he said.

Once OFW-host countries ease their restrictions again, it will boost remittance growth as more workers are able to work again and economies recover.

Ricafort said the recovery could be aided by the massive vaccination and booster doses toward population protection and herd immunity worldwide in the coming months.