CLIFF VENZON, NIKKEI STAFF WRITER FEBRUARY 15, 2021 19:01 JST
400,000-worker repatriation raises questions over sustainability of cash inflow
MANILA — Cash remittances from Filipinos working overseas dropped 0.8% to $29.9 billion last year, defying expectations of a sharper fall due to the pandemic, the country’s central bank said on Monday.
However, the repatriation of over 400,000 workers amid the raging global health crisis has raised concerns of whether the remittance inflows — a lifeline to a Philippine economy that shrank by a record 9.5% last year — can sustain their strength.
The marginal drop beat forecasts, including by the Asian Development Bank, which in August projected a fall of up to 20.2%. The Philippine central bank initially projected a 5% decline, before tempering it to a 2% contraction.
Remittances from the U.S., which comprised nearly 40% of the total, as well as from Singapore, Canada, Hong Kong, Qatar, South Korea and Taiwan grew while those from Saudi Arabia, Japan, the U.K., United Arab Emirates, Germany and Kuwait dropped, according to the central bank.