Gov’t debt seen easing to 48% of GDP in 2013

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11:36 PM February 12th, 2013

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By: Ronnel W. Domingo, February 12th, 2013 11:36 PM

Government economic managers see the national government’s debt stock easing to 48 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2013 as they advance efforts to manage the obligation portfolio.

According to Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima, the debt-to-GDP ratio would continue to improve, having settled at 49.5 percent as of end-2011.

The ratio, which peaked at 78.1 percent at the height of the Asian financial crisis in 1998, was at 50.5 percent as of the end of the third quarter last year.

But even as the ratio was going down, the national government’s debt stock continued to increase along with the expanding domestic economy.

In a report to be presented in Wednesday’s economic briefing at the Philippine International Convention Center, Purisima said total outstanding debt was expected to reach P5.8 trillion by year’s end. The amount will mean a 7.4-percent increase from the P5.4 trillion posted at the end of November 2012.

The finance chief added that the budget deficit for 2013 was programmed at a maximum of P241 billion, 6.6-percent higher than the planned ceiling of P235 billion last year.

Compared with the GDP, the deficit is set at 2 percent this year, easing from 2.2 percent in 2012.

In a separate report, Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad said the government expected revenue to represent 14.7 percent of GDP, while disbursements would account for 16.7 percent.

Abad said government consumption was projected to grow by a double-digit rate because of increased spending for key initiatives like the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program; priority projects in the health sector such as the doctors to the barrios, expanded immunization, and tuberculosis control; hiring of more teachers to address the shortage, and development projects in conflict-affected areas.

As of November last year, 63 percent or P3.41 trillion of the government’s total debt was borrowed from domestic lenders. Local debt increased by P33 billion or one percent from the P3.37 trillion posted in October.

Foreign obligations accounted for 37 percent or P1.98 trillion of the total outstanding debt. Foreign borrowings decreased by P11 billion or 0.6 percent from the P1.99 trillion owed to overseas lenders in October.

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