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Personal Remittances rise by 6.6% YoY to US$13.7 Billion in January - May 2021

MANILA -- Personal remittances from overseas Filipinos (OFs) increased by 13.3 percent to US$2.652 billion in May 2021 from US$2.341 billion in May 2020. This brought the cumulative remittances to US$13.68 billion in the first five months of 2021, a 6.6 percent rise year-on-year  from the US$12.835 billion recorded in the comparable period in 2020.

In particular, personal remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more rose by 16.2 percent to US$2.056 billion during the month of May from the US$1.77 billion in May 2020. Remittances from sea-based workers and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year also increased by 2.7 percent to US$532 million from US$519 million a year ago.

Likewise, cash remittances from OFs coursed through banks rose by 13.1 percent to US$2.382 billion in May 2021 from US$2.106 billion in the comparable month a year ago. This was due to the 16.2 percent and 2.7 percent increase in receipts from land-based workers (to US$1.894 billion from US$1.631 billion) and sea-based workers (to US$488 million from US$475 million), respectively. On a year-to-date basis, cash remittances in January – May 2021 reached US$12.28.billion, 6.3 percent higher than the year-ago level of US$11.554 billion.

The growth in cash remittances from the United States (U.S.), Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore, and Canada contributed largely to the increase in remittances in January – May 2021.  Meanwhile, in terms of country sources,  the U.S. registered the highest share of overall remittances at 40.1 percent, followed by Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, South Korea, Qatar, and Taiwan.The combined remittances from these ten countries accounted for 78.3 percent of total cash remittances. (BSP)


There are some limitations on the remittance data by source. A common practice of remittance centers in various cities abroad is to course remittances through correspondent banks, most of which are located in the U.S. Also, remittances coursed through money couriers cannot be disaggregated by actual country source and are lodged under the country where the main offices are located, which, in many cases, is in the U.S. Therefore, the U.S. would appear to be the main source of OF remittances because banks attribute the origin of funds to the most immediate source. The countries are listed in order of their share of cash remittances, i.e., from highest to lowest.

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About the Author

Kate Shiene Austria


Central Office

Information Officer III under the Office of the Deputy Director-General-Digital Development Communications Unit of Philippine Information Agency. 

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