BSP: 2021 remittances exceed pre-pandemic levels on 'strong' demand for OFWs

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 15) — Personal remittances by overseas Filipino citizens jumped to a new record high last year, even surpassing pre-pandemic figures, the central bank said Tuesday.

In a statement, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said personal remittances from overseas Filipinos amounted to $34.884 billion in 2021—exceeding the $33.194 billion booked a year earlier and 2019's $33.467 billion.

For December alone, personal remittances posted a year-on-year growth of 2.9% to register the "highest" monthly level at $3.298 billion.

The BSP attributed the growth to increasing inflows from land-based workers who were employed for at least one year as they sent in $27.005 billion, a 5.6% improvement from a year ago.

Money sent home by sea- and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year also went up by 2.9% to $7.138 billion.

"The growth in personal remittances reflected a pickup in OFW deployment, strong demand for OFWs amid the reopening of host economies to foreign workers, and the continued shift to digital support that facilitated inward transfer of remittances," the BSP said.

"The strong inward remittances, in turn, contributed to the increase in domestic demand, with the 2021 level accounting for 8.9 percent and 8.5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and gross national income (GNI), respectively," it added.

The US registered the highest share of overall remittances last year at 40.5%.

It was followed by Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Taiwan, Qatar, and South Korea.

"The combined remittances from these top ten countries represented 78.9 percent of total cash remittances in 2021," the central bank said.