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PIA Press Release

Administration has done fairly well, says BSP official


Zamboanga City (23 February) -- "As far as the parameter of inflation is concerned, I can say the administration has done fairly well," said Mr. Melodino S. Patiņo, deputy director, Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas Zamboanga City Branch.

Director Patiņo said inflation is within target.

This he said in consonance with BSP Central Office publication of the 33rd issue of the quarterly BSP Inflation Report covering the period October-December 2009 which says average inflation for 2009 falls within target range, even as fourth quarter (Q4) inflation increases. Headline inflation for 2009 averaged lower at 3.2 percent, well within the Government's target of 2.5-4.5 percent. Favorable developments in food and energy-related items in the first three quarters of 2009 sustained the inflation downtrend which started in Q4 2008.

However, inflation rose in Q4 2009 as weather-related disturbances led to higher prices of food products and as the price of oil increased in the global market. Higher inflation path in Q4 was also partly statistical as base effects, which contributed to low inflation readings during the earlier part of the year, have started to diminish. Meanwhile, core inflation reflected a downtrend for five consecutive quarters starting Q4 2008 to reach 2.9 percent in Q4 2009, indicating modest demand-side price pressures.

The BSP Inflation Report is published as part of the BSP's efforts to improve the transparency of monetary policy under inflation targeting and convey to the public the thinking and analysis behind the Monetary Board's decisions on monetary policy.

Meanwhile, BSP Central Office further reported cumulative remittances of overseas Filipinos (OF) coursed through banks were stronger-than-expected in 2009, growing year-on-year by 5.6 percent to US$17.3 billion. The 2009 level exceeded the BSP's forecast of US$17.1 billion remittance flows or a 4.0 percent growth for the year. Remittances from sea-based and land-based workers rose by 12.1 percent and 4.2 percent, respectively. For the month of December 2009 alone, remittances grew by 11.4 percent, registering the highest level at US$1.6 billion.

when asked about data on OFW remittances here in Zamboanga City alone, Director Patiņo candidly said BSP Zamboanga does not have a way to monitor OFW remittances that are being coursed thru various bank and non-bank service providers here in the city. "Unless you asked our banks here one by one, then maybe you could get some data," he said.

"OFW remittance remained resilient amid the recent global financial crisis mainly because of the increasing number of overseas Filipinos," the seasoned director said.

"It's Filipino culture of trying to help their family in distress. Because of the situation here, they (OF) tend to increase the amount of money they send to their families here in the Philippines," he added.

It can be recalled; BSP central office reported remittances remained resilient amid the recent global financial crisis, providing strong support to domestic demand. The remittance level for the year accounted for 10.8 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product. The steady remittance flows from overseas Filipinos were underpinned by the following factors: i) the sustained demand for Filipino workers overseas, specifically the skilled workers such as engineers, medical practitioners and teachers; ii) the conduct of bilateral talks with host countries which continue to open up new employment opportunities abroad for Filipinos and facilitate hiring of displaced workers who were affected by the global economic difficulties; and iii) the continued expansion of bank and non-bank service providers' international and domestic market coverage to capture a larger share of the global remittance market as well as the introduction of innovative products and services that cater to remitters' specific needs. As of end-December 2009, commercial banks' established tie-ups, remittance centers, correspondent banks and branches/representative offices abroad increased to 4,192 from 3,015 at end-2008.

For the period January-December 2009, the major sources of remittances were the U.S., Canada, Saudi Arabia, U.K., Japan, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Italy, and Germany.

OFW remittance posted at $17.3 billion in 2009 from $6 billion in 2000. (PIA) [top]

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