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Last Updated: Friday, 13 January 2006, 11:10 GMT
Filipino remittances hit $9.7bn
Philippine pesos being counted
Money sent back home can be a lifeline for families
Money sent home by Filipinos working overseas in the first 11 months of last year totalled $9.7bn (5.5bn), said the country's central bank.

Representing a 26.6% rise on same period in 2004, the Central Bank of the Philippines expects remittances to rise to $10.7bn for the whole of 2005.

The World Bank said recently that remittances now make up 13.5% of the Philippines' GDP.

It is the fifth largest recipient behind India, China, Mexico and France.

Family support

Remittances from the millions of Filipino people working abroad have helped fuel both economic growth in the Philippines, and specifically the country's domestic consumption figures.

1. India - $21.7bn
2. China - $21.3bn
3. Mexico - $18.1bn
4. France - $12bn
5. Philippines - $12bn
6. Pakistan - $3.9bn
7. Bangladesh - $3.4bn
World Bank's 2004 figures

It has also helped the Filipino peso hit a two and a half year high against the dollar.

More immediately for many poor Filipino families, the money helps pay for the everyday necessities.

Its central bank said the main source of remittances came from Filipino workers in the US, followed by those in Saudi Arabia, Italy, Japan, Hong Kong, the UK, the United Arab Emirates and Singapore.

Bigger than aid

The World Bank estimates that total worldwide remittances exceeded $232bn in 2005, more than twice the level of development aid from all sources.

The sustained rise in remittances during the review period may be attributed to the continuing demand for Filipino worker
Central Bank of the Philippines

And taking into account money returned home through informal channels, it estimates that total remittances could be at least 50% higher than the official estimate.

The International Monetary Fund also estimates that remittances have become the biggest source of foreign funds for developing countries.

Back in April last year it called for banks to lower transaction charges to make it both easier and cheaper for people to send money back to their home country.

The Central Bank of the Philippines said the number of Filipinos working abroad rose by 3.9% between January and November last year.

"The sustained rise in remittances during the review period may be attributed to the continuing demand for Filipino workers," it said in a statement.

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