More OFW families investing - survey

By Kathleen A. Martin, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jun 16 2014 09:36 AM | Updated as of Jun 16 2014 05:36 PM

MANILA, Philippines - More households that depend on remittances from family members working abroad are now saving and investing.

This was according to a recent Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) survey, which indicated that in the second quarter of the year, 46.6 percent of remittance-dependent families said they had put a portion of their remittances to grow their savings. This was higher than the 45.4 percent recorded in the first quarter and the highest level recorded since the rate hit 50.4 percent in the first quarter of 2010.

At the same time, families who put part of what they received from abroad to investments climbed to 9.1 percent from eight percent.

“More and more OFWs are getting to be financially literate,” BSP Deputy Governor Diwa C. Guinigundo said.

“If you look at savings, when the survey started in first quarter 2007, it was only 7.2 percent but today it went up to 46.6 percent… Investments, meanwhile, was only 2.3 percent then but today, it also went up to 9.1 percent,” he said.

Guinigundo said that this shows that remittances do not only drive domestic consumption but also benefits other sectors such as the real estate, where a lot of overseas Filipinos have been investing their money.

“Because when they come back when their contract is over, they want to have something to look forward to,” Guinigundo said.

In the first quarter, cash remittances sent home by Filipinos living and working abroad rose six percent to $5.478 billion from the same period last year.

Last year, cash remittances surged 7.4 percent to $22.968 billion, the highest annual level ever recorded by the central bank.

The latest Consumer Expectations Survey showed bulk of remittances are still being used for food and other household needs, followed by education, medical expenses and debt payments.