OFWs help drive Philippine retail sales

Rising remittances from overseas foreign workers and a ramp-up of government infrastructure investment is helping drive Philippine retail sales.

Economists say those factors have helped fuel strong economic growth in the first quarter.

The World Bank is predicting full-year GDP growth of 6.9 per cent in 2017, safely within the government’s own target of between 6.5 per cent and 7 per cent.

“Remittances and business process outsourcing revenue helping to fuel retail spending and maintain a level of growth that is enviable by Western standards,” said a Reuters analyst in a report released late last week.

A Reuters poll of economists resulted in a prediction that  GDP grew 6.8 per cent year-on-year in the March quarter – slightly faster than the 6.6 per cent growth in the fourth quarter.

Economists credit rising government spending, growing income from business process outsourcing and OFW remittances as driving the growth

Cash sent home through banks by Filipinos living and working abroad reached a record high of US$2.56 billion last December, 3.6 per cent higher than the same month in 2015. In January they reached $2.169 billion, compared with $1.997 billion in January 2015, up 13. 5 per cent.

Remittances are traditionally higher in December due to the holiday season.

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