Overseas Filipinos’ personal remittances declined by 5.2 percent to $2.652 billion in March 2020 compared with $2.796 billion in the same month last year, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said Tuesday.

This brought total remittances in the first quarter of 2020 to $8.218 billion, 1.5 percent higher compared with the $8.098 billion posted in the same period last year, the central bank said in a statement.

Personal remittances from the sea- and land-based workers with contracts of less than one year rose by 2.7 percent increase to $0.591 billion in March 2020, from $0.575 billion in March 2019.

Remittances of land-based workers with contracts of one year or more decreased to $2.014 billion from $2.157 billion during the same period.

The BSP noted a 4.7-percent decrease in remittances coursed through banks, to $2.397 billion in March 2020 from $2.514 billion in March 2019.

The central bank attributed the March decline in cash remittances to the decreased number of Filipinos deployed overseas during the first quarter of 2020.

Countries that employed fewer Filipinos were Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, amid depressed oil prices in the world market, the BSP said.

The United States was the top source of remittances, accounting for 39 percent, followed by Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Canada, Hong Kong and Korea. (Jojo Mangahis)