Cash remittances opened in the green to start 2023, as money sent home by overseas Filipinos stood its ground against roiling external headwinds.

Data released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas showed that money coursed through banks by overseas Filipinos inched up 3.5% year-on-year to $2.76 billion in January.

Remittances, considered a cornerstone of the consumer-dependent domestic economy, posted its largest cash haul, $32.54 billion, in 2022. This was despite being a year removed from the pandemic which crashed the global economy and forced overseas Filipinos to go home in droves because of layoffs and businesses going under.

The year opened with much of the same headwinds, such as a projected global recession, brutal inflation, and expensive borrowing costs that continued to cast a shroud over the global economy.

For 2023, the BSP forecast that cash remittances would expand by 4% on an annual basis.

Domini Velasquez, chief economist at China Banking Corp., noted a cheery economic outlook provided some lift for the uptrend in remittances.

'Remittances remained moderately positive as the outlook in host countries improved. Economic outturn for the US, UK, and some European countries were better than expected,' she said in a Viber message.

BSP data broken down showed 41.9% of cash remittances in January came from the United States, while the rest came from Singapore, Japan, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Taiwan, Qatar, and Malaysia.

Remittance from land-based workers inched up by 4% year-on-year to $2.19 billion in January. Sea-based workers sent in a total of $580 million, grew 1.8% year-on-year.

'Moving forward, in Asia, we expect robust growth in remittances as China's reopening will lift economic prospects for the rest of the region. The recent fallout in the banking system in the US may be a risk if it progresses to be a full-blown banking crisis,' Velasquez added.


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