The Philippines Tops List of Southeast Asia Remittances

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May 23 – A recently released report from the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Bank has found that remittance inflows from every Southeast Asian country have significantly increased from 2000 to 2012.

The Philippines, in particular, has benefitted the most, and the report adds that remittances sent by Filipino migrants in 2012 accounted for over half of all remittances to the region.

It continued by saying that remittances to the Philippines were the third largest in the world in 2012, totaling US$24.45 billion (or, about 10 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP)). The Philippines was only behind the much larger countries of India (US$69.35 billion) and China (US$60.24 billion). The three countries combined account for about 75 percent of all remittances back to Asia.

For comparison, Asia received a total of US$260 billion in remittances in 2012, while the Southeast Asian nations received a total of US$47.96 billion in remittances, up 8.43 percent from US$44.23 billion in 2011.

In the Southeast Asian region, Vietnam placed second on the remittance list after receiving US$10 billion in 2012 (ninth in the world), while Indonesia rounded out the top three after receiving approximately US$7 billion that year.

“Southeast Asia is probably the world’s most dynamic and diverse remittance market,” concluded the report.

The report also highlighted that the inflow and outflow of migrants has increased throughout Southeast Asia since 2000. The Philippines has seen the largest outflow of migrants in the region with 4.28 million leaving, while Malaysia saw the largest inflows with 2.36 million people coming in.

“Migration and remittances offer a vital lifeline for millions of people and can play a major role in an economy’s takeoff,” noted World Bank chief economist Kaushik Basu. “They enable people to partake in the global labor market and create resources that can be leveraged for development and growth.”

In the report, the World Bank also advised that the various countries’ governments should work with their respective private sectors to create a better regulatory environment, to foster competition among remittance providers and to develop a stronger payment system infrastructure so that the price of remittance inflows gradually lowers.