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WB notes ‘buoyant’ remittances from OFWs

27 April 2017

While remittances from migrants to their home countries showed a decline for the second year in 2016, Filipinos overseas did not follow the trend, according to the World Bank.

In its April 21 Migration and Remittances report, the World Bank noted total remittances to developing countries last year reached $429 billion, down 2.4 percent from 2015’s $440 billion.

With more than a tenth of the over 100 million Filipinos working or living overseas—the World Bank said remittances to the Philippines were “buoyant” last year, bucking the decline across the East Asia and Pacific region.

“Remittances to the Philippines, estimated at around $30 billion, remained resilient, growing by 4.9 percent in 2016 relative to 4.4 percent in 2015,” the World Bank said.

Including flows to high-income countries, global remittances also declined 1.2 percent to $575 billion in 2016 from $582 billion in 2015, the World Bank said. “Low oil prices and weak economic growth in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and the Russian Federation are taking a toll on remittance flows to South Asia and Central Asia, while weak growth in Europe has reduced flows to North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa,” the World Bank explained in a statement.

Also, “the decline in remittances, when valued in US dollars, was made worse by a weaker euro, British pound and Russian ruble against the US dollar,” the World Bank added.

Based on World Bank estimates, remittances to the Philippines last year were equivalent to 9.6 percent of the gross domestic product.

The Philippines was the third biggest recipient of remittances in 2016, after India’s $62.7 billion and China’s $61 billion.

In contrast, remittances in East Asia and Pacific declined 1.2 percent to $126 billion in 2016, reversing 2015’s 3.8-percent growth.

“For 2017, remittances to the [East Asia and Pacific] region are forecast to grow 2.5 percent to $129 billion,” the World Bank said.

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