Filipinos in UAE remitted Dh1.4b in January-August

DUBAI — The more than 250,000 Filipinos working in the UAE sent Dh1.4 billion ($380.2 million) to their families during the first eight months of this year, contributing to the strengthening of the Philippine peso against the US dollar.

By Jose Franco

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Published: Tue 16 Oct 2007, 8:54 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 11:27 PM

The peso's continuous appreciation against the greenback has been a problem to most of the over 10 million overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), however, as this has eroded the exchange rates of the money they earned in host-economies.

Dubai-based OFWs, for instance, have to spend more dirhams to send home to meet a fixed monthly family budget. Yesterday the peso was up to 11.90 against the UAE dirham, the strongest level since the Philippine currency's seven-year high against the dollar on July 24. On Sunday, the peso appreciated against the dirham at 11.91, or 43.85 against the dollar.

Foreign exchange bureaus in the UAE follow the rates being used by four Philippine banks they have tie-ups with in processing OFWs remittances.

The Philippine central bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), yesterday said that remittances from the UAE had increased by 54.65 per cent for January to August as compared to Dh902.74 million ($245.84 million) a year ago.

OFWs in Kuwait registered the highest increase in remittances at 77.71 per cent to Dh469.11 million ($127.75 million) Dh264 million ($72 million) for the same quoted period while those in Saudi Arabia had sent Dh3 billion ($813.85 million).

The UAE, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia were the only Arab countries listed by BSP under the Middle East region. Total remittances by OFWs from the three host-countries reached Dh5.73 billion ($1.56 billion) for the first eight months, a 35.72 per cent rise from a year ago level of Dh4.22 billion ($1.15 billion).

BSP said that total remittances from overseas Filipinos worldwide rose 10.59 per cent to Dh4.41 billion ($1.2 billion) in August from a year ago, rising sharply from last month's 4.6 per cent annual increase.

It added that the August inflows brought to 15.3 per cent the total remittances for the first eight moths compared to the same period in 2006.

The monthly allotment being received by OFWs families have helped revive the Philippine economy of 87 million people, with strong inflows coupled with improved foreign investments making the peso as Asia's best performing currency after the Indian rupee.

The BSP, which has forecast an all-time high of Dh51.41-billion ($14 billion) in total remittances for the whole 2007, warned against so much reliance on OFWs remittances for economic support.

"Remittances are influenced by investment opportunities even more so than altruistic considerations," Reuters quoted a BSP study. "Policymakers should therefore not be drawn into complacency that remittances can comfortably help the economy weather economic downturns. There is no substitute for prudent macroeconomic policies."

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