Remittances seen to continue to fund housing

Remittances seen to continue to fund housing
Published: 20 July 2009

Even with the global economic crisis, remittances from migrant Filipino workers will continue to fund the construction of residential houses, Holcim said in a forum.

“So far, this year, we don’t see a drop in demand for residential construction,” said Rey Cervera, head of Holcim’s business expansion.

Overall, he said, the Philippine economy “proved relatively resilient amid the global recession.”

Cervera said the cement company’s projection of its own growth for the remainder of the year is based on real GDP evolution, government deficit, interest and inflation rates, and remittances from overseas Filipino workers.

“The projection is zero growth in remittances,” he said. However, from its own analysis of the Philippine economy, he said construction of houses, particularly for OFWs, will continue even if the record $16-billion remittances posted last year will not increase.

Cervera noted that OFW dollar remittances has been on the rise since 2004.

Last year, he said, the construction industry posted an 8-percent growth despite the crisis, with residential and commercial construction driving consumption up.

And no matter how small, at 1.8 per cent, there was positive growth in cement demand for 2008, he said.

Cervera also pointed out the potential for continued growth of the industry in the country, citing the low cement consumption per capita here compared to other Asian countries.