MANILA - Cash remittances from overseas Filipinos reached $2.4 billion in March 2020, down 4.7 percent from the same month last year, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said on Thursday.
The BSP said cash remittances fell as the number of Filipinos deployed overseas in the first three months of 2020 declined compared to last year.
The countries that registered declines in cash remittances in March were mostly from oil-producing countries Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait where demand for workers were affected by depressed oil price in the world market, the BSP said.
Despite the drop in March, cash remittances were up in the first quarter by 1.4 percent at $7.4 billion from the $7.3 billion registered in the same period last year.
Personal remittances also fell 5.2 percent in March to $2.65 billion. Total remittances for the first quarter reached $8.22 billion, 1.5 percent higher compared to the same period last year.
By country source, the United States registered the highest share to overall remittances at 39 percent in March 2020, followed by Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Japan, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Canada, Hong Kong, and Korea, the BSP said.
The Philippines is one of the largest recipients of remittances in the world. Money sent home by Filipinos is a major driver of domestic consumption and, in 2018, it accounted for 9.7 percent of gross domestic product, according to the BSP.
The COVID-19 pandemic however has hit many of the countries where millions of overseas Filipino workers are deployed, putting their lives and jobs at risk.