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OFW households seen to save less, spend more

By Michelle Remo/Philippine Daily Inquirer

 

THE NUMBER of Filipino households that saved a portion of the remittances they received from migrant family members declined in April, according to the latest survey conducted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

Results of the Consumer Expectations Survey showed that out of 545 households receiving money from abroad, only 38 percent said they had set aside a portion of the remittances for savings.

This was sharply lower than the 50.4 percent registered during the previous survey conducted in January, and slightly down from 38.3 percent recorded the previous year.

According to central bank officials, the drop in the number of households that had set aside cash for savings could signal an even faster rise in consumption in the second quarter, which could support healthy growth of the economy. Money not saved may be used for consumption or investment, they explained.

Rising consumption has its advantages, as demand for goods and services helps increase economic activity, they explained.

But Filipino households are still being encouraged to save a portion of the remittances they get to secure their future, central bank officials said. Savings, especially deposits in banks, form part of funds that are lent out to support investment initiatives.

Meanwhile, the number of OFW households that had earmarked a portion of remittances for investments also dropped year-on-year.

Survey showed that out of the 545 respondent-households nationwide, 7.2 percent said they used a portion of remittances for investments. This was lower than the 8.3 percent recorded in the April 2009 survey, but up from 5.8 percent in the January 2010 survey.

Officials said more Filipinos used portions of their money to save and invest last year, when the global economic turmoil reached its peak. The crisis prompted people to be mindful of their security by saving and investing, and consuming less, they added.

The decline this year in the number of remittance-dependent households that save and invest is consistent with projections of improving economic conditions as the global economy recovers from recession.

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