ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA—Filipinos in two major Pacific countries are sending lesser remittances during the six months of 2017 compared to the same period a year ago.
Data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ comparative January-June remittance data show that remittances from Australia and New Zealand slowed down by some 13.7 percent and 12.8 percent, respectively.
Filipinos based in Australia sent home US$257.63 million as of June 30, below the US$298.595 million over the same six-month period a year ago. The same decline can be seen from New Zealand-originated Filipino remittances: US$51.589 million (2017) versus US$59.152 million.
Both the Australian dollar to the Philippine peso has been depreciating since June 2016: from PhP33.33 in January 2016 to today’s PhP37.61. Usually, when the home country currency depreciates (i.e., nominal value is higher), it becomes an incentive for migrants abroad to remit more money [see Figure 1].
From January 2016, the most striking month for Australia’s remittance slowdown was April 2017 when only US$27.943 were remitted. The said month’s remittance inflow was the monthly lowest since Filipinos sent US$15.172 million on February 2013.
And from January 2016 to June this year, monthly remittance growth rates had been like a roller coaster ride [see Figure 2].
The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that the country’s economy grew by 0.3 percent in this year’s first three months. But in the third quarter of 2016, gross domestic product decelerated 0.5 percent.
The New Zealand dollar, for its part, has been up-and-down the last 18 months. From a high of P31.15 in January 2016, the New Zealand dollar-Philippine peso exchange rate is at P36.04 last June [see Figure 3].
New Zealand-originated remittances, like Australia’s, are on a roller-coaster givne their monthly growth rates since January 2016 to June this year [see Figure 4].
The New Zealand economy is clinging to avoid negative territory. Gross domestic product for the first quarter this year was at 0.5 percent, says Statistics New Zealand.
OFW Journalism Consortium