Business, Finance & Economics

Weak dollar hurts Filipino poor

More than 8 million Filipinos, nearly a tenth of the country's population, are working overseas and many Filipinos are dependant on the American dollars those workers send home. But lately those dollars don't go as far. This woman says she used to rely on the money her husband would send home from his construction job in Saudi Arabia but not anymore. She says her husband sends about $300 dollars every month which used to be about 1,500 pesos but the dollar has lost 15% of its value against the peso so her monthly allowance has shrunk by about $200. not far from that home is this 55 year old woman who also depends on her husband's overseas job. Now she can barely pay her monthly expenses and she now doesn't use her refrigerator to cut down on electricity. These factors have combined to cut household budgets by about 25% in just the past year, according to this board member of the central bank of the Philippines. Immigrant labor from the Philippines has fueled the country's economic growth and dollar remittances from overseas workers now account for about a tenth of the country's gross domestic product. Because the Philippines is so tied to the American dollar, this economist says the dollar is the most immediate impact to families' wealth and budget. There's been mounting pressure on the Philippines government to do something about the weak conversion of the dollar to the peso, but the president has said there's only so much he can do.

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