x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Filipino money flowing out of the Middle East

More cash was remitted home by Filipinos working in the Middle East in the quarter of the year, new data shows.

Remittances of overseas Filipinos working in the Middle East rose 6.6 per cent in the first quarter to US$719 million as regional unrest and an improving economy prompted a rise in money flows.

More money was repatriated to the Philippines by workers in Bahrain, Yemen and Saudi Arabia in the first quarter of the year compared to the same period last year.

The amount of remitted funds dropped from Egypt, Libya, Syria and Jordan, however, showed data from Philippine's central bank.

"In Bahrain, people have been remitting more than normal but the effect has been relatively short-term," said Jarmo Kotilaine, chief economist of NCB Capital in Saudi Arabia.

"Across the region where there's been less disruption we would would expect a continuity in remittances."

Concern about social and political unrest encouraged money to exit the financial systems of Bahrain, Egypt and elsewhere in the aftermath of unrest earlier this year. Some of the exiting flows may be from expatriate workers sending cash home, say economists.

Remittances from Arab spring countries, those directly affected by unrest, rose 2.4 per cent to $425 million in the first quarter of the year.

Around 10 million Filipinos live and work in more than 120 countries around the world. A significant proportion of those workers are based in the Middle East, where they help to fill jobs everywhere from shopping malls to hotels.