MANILA -- (UPDATE) Remittances from Filipinos overseas grew stronger than expected in October, notwithstanding global uncertainties such as protests in Hong Kong and Brexit, data released Monday showed.
Cash remittances coursed through banks grew 8 percent to $2.7 billion (P136.8 billion). Personal remittances, including those in kind and house-to-house transfers grew 7.7 percent to $3 billion, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said.
"Come hell or high recession, remittance flows have grown with Filipinos always finding a way to make Christmas merry," said ING Bank senior economist Nicholas Antonio Mapa.
Analysts had feared that the protests in Hong Kong, one of the biggest markets for Filipino expatriate workers, could dent remittances towards the end of the year.
Sustained remittance growth helped buoy the peso against the dollar and narrow the trade gap, Mapa said.
Cash remittances for the January to October period reached $24.9 billion, up 4.6 percent from the same period in 2018, the BSP said.
The United States remained the biggest source of remittances during the period, making up 37.6 percent of total transfers.
Saudi Arabia was second, followed by Singapore, Japan, United Arab Emirates, the UK, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, and Kuwait, the central bank said.
The Philippines is one of the biggest recipients of remittances in the world. Money sent by overseas Filipinos power consumption which drives the country's economy.