Personal remittances set a new record high in December 2023 at US$3.6 billion

Personal remittances from Overseas Filipinos (OFs) posted a new record high of US$3.6 billion in December 2023, up by 3.9 percent from the US$3.5 billion recorded in December 2022. The growth in personal remittances in the last month of 2023 was driven by increased remittances from 1) land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more and 2) sea- and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year.

Cumulatively, personal remittances also reached an all-time high of US$37.2 billion, a 3.0 percent increase from US$36.1 billion in 2022. The robust inward remittances reflected the rise in the deployment of OF Workers (OFW) due to the continuous increase in demand for foreign workers in host countries. The full-year 2023 remittances represented 8.5 percent and 7.7 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Gross National Income (GNI), respectively.

Of the personal remittances from OFs, cash remittances coursed through banks reached US$3.3 billion in December 2023, higher by 3.8 percent than the US$3.2 billion recorded in the same month last 2022. The growth in cash remittances in December 2023 was primarily due to increased receipts from both land- and sea-based workers.

On a year-to-date basis, cash remittances reached US$33.5 billion in 2023, a 2.9 percent growth from US$32.5 billion in 2022.

The growth in cash remittances from the United States (U.S.), Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) contributed mainly to the increase in remittances in 2023. In terms of the countries where these remittances originate, the U.S. had the highest share of overall remittances during the period, followed by Singapore, and Saudi Arabia.1

1 There are some limitations on the remittance data by source. A common practice of remittance centers in various cities abroad is to course remittances through correspondent banks, most of which are located in the U.S. Also, remittances coursed through money couriers cannot be disaggregated by actual country source and are lodged under the country where the main offices are located, which, in many cases, is in the U.S. Therefore, the U.S. would appear to be the main source of OF remittances because banks attribute the origin of funds to the most immediate source. The countries are listed in order of their share of cash remittances, i.e., from highest to lowest.