MANILA, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- Personal remittances or the money sent home by overseas Filipinos in 2019 reached a record high of 33.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2019, 3.9 percent higher than that of 2018, the Philippine central bank said on Monday.
According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) or the Central Bank of the Philippines, the sustained growth in personal remittances during the year was primarily driven by a 3.5-percent increase in remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more, which amounted to 25.6 billion U.S. dollars from 24.8 billion U.S. dollars.
Moreover, the BSP said a 6.5-percent rise in personal remittances from sea-based and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year, amounting to 7.1 billion U.S. dollars from 6.7 billion U.S. dollars, contributed to the growth in personal remittances.
In 2019, the BSP said personal remittances, which boost household income and consumption, accounted for 9.3 percent and 7.8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and gross national income (GNI), respectively.
Much of the remittances from overseas Filipinos were in the form of cash that were coursed through the banks, the BSP said.
The BSP further said total cash remittances in 2019 amounted to an all-time high of 30.1 billion U.S. dollars, 4.1 percent higher than the 28.9 billion U.S. dollars recorded in 2018.
Notwithstanding pockets of political uncertainties across the globe, the BSP said cash remittances in 2019 remained strong.
"This is evident in inward remittances from Asia, the Americas, and Africa, where inflows grew annually by 12.3 percent, 10.6 percent and 4.8 percent, respectively. The growth of inflows in these regions more than made up for the 9.8 percent decline in remittances from the Middle East," the BSP said.
During the year, the BSP said remittance inflows were sourced mainly from the United States, which accounted for the highest share to total remittances at 37.6 percent, followed by Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Japan, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Canada, China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Germany and Kuwait.
Remittances, or the money sent home by overseas workers to help support their families, have become the single most important source of foreign exchange for the Philippine economy and a significant source of income for recipient families.
The government estimates the number of overseas Filipino workers at 10 million, accounting for one-tenth of the country's population.