BOP surplus hits $9.24B in end-2012
Foreign exchange reserves up 11% at $83.8BBy Michelle V. Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The country’s external liquidity remained solid in 2012, with the balance of payments registering another surplus and the foreign-exchange reserves hitting an all-time high, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has reported.
Citing official figures, the BSP said the surplus in the country’s BOP hit $9.24 billion at the end of the year (compared with the initial estimate of $8.9 billion), due largely to a sustained increase in remittances sent by overseas Filipinos, a surge in foreign portfolio investments and higher foreign investments in the services sector.
The BOP surplus for 2012, however, was 9-percent lower than the $10.18 billion recorded the previous year.
Remittances rose last year despite the weakness of advanced economies as global demand for Filipino workers, largely in alternative labor markets, remained strong.
Foreign direct investments in the services sector, particularly in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, also grew on the back of high demand for English-speaking Filipino workers.
Foreign portfolio investments surged as the economy’s faster-than-expected growth rate in the first three quarters and the country’s improved credit ratings boosted demand for peso-denominated securities.
The central bank said the country’s gross international reserves (GIR) also registered a new record high of $83.8 billion (revised from the initial estimate of $84.2 billion) last year.
The GIR was up 11 percent from $75.3 billion the previous year.