OFW money fuels RP car sales

by Anna Barbara L. Lorenzo | May 14, 2009

Money sent by overseas Filipino workers (OFW) continued to support the local auto industry as remittances climbed to a record high in March.

Data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas showed that OFW remittances coursed through banks reached $1.47 billion in March. This is the highest amount recorded by the central bank started keeping tabs on remittances from OFWs.

It may be recalled that the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) said March has been one of the industries best months of the year as car sales grew 19 percent month-on-month.

"OFWs are still the main engine for sustained sales. Two out of three households are supported by OFWs. This is very significant when it comes to consumption and very important also for car sales," CAMPI president Elizabeth H. Lee said.

As of end-March, the Philippine car market has suffered only a 1.2 percent decline in sales while other markets registered as much as double-digit contractions.

"We're still holding up relatively well considering that everyone else is tanking around us," Lee added.

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