OFWs Saving More – BSP

MANILA – Families that receive remittances from Filipinos abroad are allocating more funds for savings and investments, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

The latest Consumer Expectations Survey showed OFW (overseas Filipino worker) households that used part of their remittances for savings went up to 42.1 percent in the fourth quarter from 39.7 percent in the previous three months.

Moreover, those that allotted part of their remittances for investments climbed to 6.8 percent from 6.3 percent.

“The trend suggests that they’re becoming more financially educated and even more financially capable to put a chunk of their remittances toward investing and saving,” BSP assistant governor Ma. Almasara Cyd Tuano-Amador said.

She stressed the percentage of OFW households saving in the first quarter of 2007, when the BSP started the CES, was only 7.2 percent, while that of those investing as only 2.3 percent.

Amador said the increase in the number of OFW families saving and investing could be traced to a hike in their salaries and the efforts of local banks to offer more products and services to match their needs.

“This is something that should be favorable because this is what empowers the OFWs in terms of their financial freedom,” Amador said.

Latest BSP data showed money sent home by Filipinos living and working abroad rose 6.1 percent to $17.645 billion in the nine months to September.

The central bank attributed this to the sustained demand for Filipinos abroad and the continuous expansion of local banks’ remittance services outside the country.

Remittances provide a big boost to the economy as it made up about 8.4 percent of the gross domestic product last year.

The latest survey showed bulk of the remittances received by OFW households was used for food, education, medical expenses, and debt payments.

This was followed by savings, purchase of appliances, buying a house, investments, and acquiring motor vehicles.

The fourth quarter survey was conducted from Oct. 1 to 11 and covered 6,389 households, of which 50.3 percent were from the National Capital Region.

(Source: Kathleen A. Martin, The Philippine Star – ABS-CBNnews.com)

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