Country’s BOP stood at a surplus in April

Balance of payments still favorable, up by 7%

By: Michelle V. Remo, May 19th, 2011 11:15 PM

The country’s balance of payments stood at $1.084 billion in April, up by 7 percent from last year. AFP PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The flow of dollars and other foreign currencies into the country outstripped the outflows recorded in April, as remittances and portfolio investments remained robust.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said the surplus in the country’s balance of payments (BOP) would further boost the country’s foreign exchange reserves, which had been hitting record levels in recent months.

BOP is the difference between inflows and outflows of foreign currencies.

On Thursday, the BSP reported that the BOP in April stood at a surplus of $1.084 billion, up by 7 percent from the $1.013 billion in the same month last year.

This brought the surplus in the first four months of the year to $4.577 billion—doubling the $2.289 billion registered in the same period a year ago.

Remittances from Filipinos working abroad continue to grow this year as demand by employers offshore remains significant.

Foreign portfolio investments, composed mostly of placements in stocks and bonds, also grew due to investors’ confidence in emerging economies in Asia.

Earlier, the central bank reported that the country’s gross international reserves (GIR) in April hit a new record high of $67.8 billion.

The reserves would be enough to cover 10.4 months’ worth of the country’s usual imports and would be equivalent to 6.1 times the country’s debts maturing within the short term.

GIR indicates a country’s ability to purchase imports, pay its debts to foreign creditors, and engage in other commercial transactions with the rest of the world.

The central bank considers the country’s current GIR level to be “comfortable,” and will help maintain confidence of creditors and bond investors in the country.

In November, international ratings agency Standard & Poor’s lifted the credit rating it assigned to the Philippines from BB- to BB, citing several factors, particularly the rise in the country’s foreign currency reserves. That rating is two notches below investment grade.

BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. had said that the Philippines deserved better ratings, given its rising reserves of foreign currencies and the stability of its banking sector.

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