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Remittances grow fastest in seven months – Bangko Sentral

A man arranges his peso bills inside a currency exchange shop Friday, Nov. 9, 2007, in Manila, Philippines. The dollar closed Friday at 42.795 pesos, where the peso rose to a new seven-year high on prospects of further U.S. interest rate cuts and likely increases in remittances from Filipinos overseas.  (AP Photo/Pat Roque)

A man arranges his peso bills inside a currency exchange shop Friday, Nov. 9, 2007, in Manila, Philippines. The dollar closed Friday at 42.795 pesos, where the peso rose to a new seven-year high on prospects of further U.S. interest rate cuts and likely increases in remittances from Filipinos overseas. (AP Photo/Pat Roque)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – Money sent home by Filipinos who live and work overseas quickened to its fastest pace in seven months last August, fueled by sustained deployment of workers abroad, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said Wednesday.

Cash remittances – money sent through banks and transfer agents – grew at annual rate of 6.8 percent to $1.918 billion in August, preliminary central bank data showed.

This is the fastest growth rate since January’s revised 8 percent increase, according to central bank records.

Total cash transfers grew by 5.9 percent to $14.545 billion in the first eight months of the year, above a Bangko Sentral forecast of 5 percent for 2013.

“The steady deployment of OF (overseas Filipino) workers remained one of the key drivers of the growth in remittance flows,”  Bangko Sentral noted in a statement.

According to Philippine Overseas Employment Administration data, approved job orders in January to August rose 39 percent annually, primarily in services, production and technical jobs in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Qatar.

Listed Bank of the Philippine Islands’ (BPI) lead economist Emilio Neri Jr. gave a bank’s perspective to remittances.

“August was disaster ridden, and we have an observation that remittances tend to rise during periods where domestic concerns are high,” he said in an interview by telephone.

In August, a string of weather disturbances battered the main island of Luzon.

Seasonal trends dictate cash remittances will continue to grow until this month, according to the BPI economist.

“Overseas Filipinos tend to send money back home ahead of Christmas season, after that we’ll see a normalization of remittances at around 5 percent,” he said.

Cash remittances mainly originated from the US, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Canada, and Japan.

Overseas cash remittances hit a record $21.391 billion last year, up 6.3 percent from the $20.117 billion in 2011.

Meanwhile, personal remittances – which include transfers in cash and in kind through banks and hand-carried deliveries – reached $2.1 billion in August, up 7.4 percent year-on-year.

Personal remittances in January to August grew by 5.5 percent to $16.034 billion.  (MNS)

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