Permanent settlers abroad keep OFW money flow up – economist (Last of two parts)

These countries made up for the nearly negative growth rate of remittances from Filipinos in the United Kingdom (minus-0.70 percent), and from the declines of flows coming from Italy (minus-26.53 percent)—traditionally, the two highest-remitting countries in Europe.

Filipinos from these countries are among the “non-traditional” remittance sources for the Philippines, especially so that many of remitters have brought their families with them, Ang said.

As of 2007, data on the stock estimates of overseas Filipinos show that the United States alone has 2,517,833 permanent migrants and the whole of Europe only has 284,987 permanent migrants.

Remittance inflows coming from the US continue to slump with a minus-13.13 percent growth rate. The US$3.510 billion that came from the US during the first six months was lower than the US$4.041 billion during the same period last year.

Canada, known for its demand for Filipino workers and for its visible number of permanent residents (410,626), posted a 58.25-percent growth rate given the US$913.3 million that came in as of June 2009.

Defy

ANG thinks Filipino permanent residents in these countries may be getting ready to return to the Philippines and got scared of what might happen to them “so they are sending more money”.

Knowing also the Filipino remitter’s mentality, especially when additional incomes arrive, the overseas Filipino will send money “no matter what.”

Recruiter Lito Soriano of LBS e-Recruitment Solutions, on the other hand, thinks the government’s improved system of capturing bank and non-bank remittance inflows contributed to the current remittance uptick.

Soriano, himself a former overseas worker, though, projects remittance growth for 2009 to reach only 1.5 percent.

But he said he’s also “worried” because it took the country five years for remittances to be above 1998 levels (US$7.578 billion was recorded in 2003) and there are signs remittance growth rates in terms of volume and value are slipping to the single-digit levels.

Ang said while the World Bank forecast a decline in remittances, he forecast a five-percent growth rate in remittance inflows this year.

The forecast is slightly above his plateau range but lower than BSP Governor Amando Tetangco’s double-digit growth forecast.

Tetangco’s forecast defies World Bank projections that the global economic crisis in developed countries (where most of the world’s migrants are) will hit on migrants’ remittances to developing countries.

Global remittance flows, the World Bank predicts, will decline by 7.3 percent this year. The sources of risk to the remittance outlook include uncertainty about the duration of the crisis and unpredictable movements in exchange rates.

Flows to Latin American countries (including Mexico) and Sub-Saharan African countries are projected to decline while money to South Asia and Southeast Asia “have been strong but are expected to decline somewhat,” the World Bank report said.#