Remittances up 18 percent

Posted on Nov 28 2000

The volume of remittance transactions by nonresidents in the Northern Marianas reached more than $50 million in the past three quarters of the year, jumping by over 18 percent in comparison with last year of the same period’s $45.190 million.

The increase in the amount of remittances this year was partly spurred by the opening of two new agencies which cater to the Filipino community and another company serving guest workers from Thailand.

Remittances to Thailand totaled $733,507 while those sent out by thousands of workers from the People’s Republic of China, who are mostly concentrated in the apparel manufacturing industry, reached $17 million from January to September 2000.

This represents a 53-percent increase from the year ago’s $11 million, which commerce officials attribute to the celebration of the Chinese Golden New Year in February this year.

During the second quarter of the year, remittances by Chinese workers went up by 39 percent from $3.8 million in calendar year 1999 to $5.3 million.

However, Filipinos continue to hold the largest market in the CNMI’s foreign exchange sector as they sent out more than $36 million in total greenback to the Philippines in the first nine months of the year.

Remittances to the Philippines soared five percent this year from the first three quarters of 1999’s total of about $34 million, according to the Quarterly Remittance Report prepared by Jesse Palacios of the commerce department’s Banking Division.

Business analysts said the escalating value of the United States dollar against the Philippine peso is driving Filipino workers to remittance centers to apparently take advantage of their earnings’ stronger buying power when sent to their families back home.

In fact, remittance companies that cater to the huge Filipino community on the islands reported bigger volume of workers from the Philippines have been trooping their centers since the peso started slipping beyond P45 per $1 early this year.

Again, remittance companies are anticipating a much bigger number of Filipino workers dropping by their centers to send hard-earned greenback which is now equivalent to almost P50 for every dollar.

Increase in the volume of greenback sent by Filipino workers to their families in the Philippines spurred the modest growth of 0.3 percent in total remittances during the second quarter of the calendar year, records obtained from the commerce department revealed.

In the second quarter of the year, remittances to the Philippines jumped four percent from $11.215 million in the January-March period to $11.686 million in the second quarter of the year.

Officials said the continued depreciation of the Philippine peso against the United States dollar encouraged Filipino workers to send more of their hard-earned greenback home.

Mainly because of the Asian financial turmoil, the value of the American currency has escalated from only P28 per dollar in 1996 to almost P50 for every dollar today.

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