Gov’t debt payment in Jan.-Feb. down 11%

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The government spent P174.3 billion in the first two months this year to pay its debts.

The amount was 11 percent less than the P195.1 billion settled in the same period last year, according to the Bureau of Treasury (BTr).

Debt servicing was subdued amid continuing efforts of the government to lengthen the maturity of its financial obligations and spread out payment schedule.

From January to February, the government paid a total of P101.6 billion in principal, including P55.2 billion in domestic debt and P46.4 billion in foreign loans.

Total principal payment in those two months was 18 percent lower than the P124.3 billion posted in the same period of 2012.

Also, the government paid a total P72.8 billion in interest charges, covering P45.3 billion in domestic debt and P27.4 billion in foreign borrowings.

Total interest payment for the period was 3 percent higher than the P70.9 billion recorded in the same period of 2012.

As of February, domestic obligations—particularly regular and retail treasury bonds (RTBs)—accounted for the bigger part of interest payments.

The Bureau of the Treasury shelled out P38.5 billion for interest payments on regular T-bonds. This means an increase of 4.4 percent from P36.8 billion a year ago.

Also, interest payments related to RTBs went up by 56 percent to P6.7 billion from P4.3 billion.

In the first two months of this year, T-bonds were the biggest contributors to new debts. Regular issues racked up P66.4 billion.

Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad said last week that the government was expecting relief on interest payments following Fitch Ratings’ upgrade of the country’s long-term foreign borrowings to investment grade.

“We expect the upgrade to lower our risk profile significantly, which in turn will lead to lower interest payments for the country’s credit requirements,” Abad said.

Latest BTr data show that the government’s debt stock reached P5.33 trillion as of the end of January.

This represents an increase of P103 billion or 1.9 percent from the previous month’s level, largely due to a persistently strong peso as well as a net redemption of domestic securities.

With the latest estimate that the population will grow to 96 million, according to the National Statistical Coordination Board, the amount of the total outstanding debt represents a share of P55,562 for each Filipino.

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