The country’s foreign exchange reserves reached $83.82 billion by the end of February, lower than the previous month’s level but still considered to be comfortable, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said Thursday.
The central bank reported that the country’s gross international reserves (GIR) by the end of February was 1.7 percent lower than the $85.27 billion posted the previous month.
However, the latest amount was still up by 8.8 percent from the $77.01 billion registered in the same month last year.
The month-on-month decline in the February GIR was attributed to outflows resulting from withdrawals by the government, as well as the state-owned Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM), which used the funds to settle its maturing debts, the central bank said.
Also, the decline in prices of gold in the world market led to the drop in the foreign exchange reserves. The country’s gold holdings account for nearly 12 percent of its total reserves, the BSP said.
On a year-on-year basis, the foreign exchange reserves grew because of the robust inflow of money sent home by overseas Filipino workers, and of investments by foreigners in peso-denominated securities and the BPO sector.
The BSP considers the foreign exchange reserves to be comfortable—more than enough to service the country’s import requirements and pay its debts as they fall due.
The latest amount of GIR is enough to cover nearly 12 months worth of the country’s import requirements. It is also 6.6 times the total outstanding and short-term foreign currency-denominated debt owed by private and public entities to foreign creditors.