Gov’t debt burden at P5.08T in AprilBy Michelle V. Remo, Ronnel W. Domingo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The government’s debt burden eased slightly to P5.08 trillion as of end-April, decreasing by P13.7 billion or 0.3 percent from the end-March level mainly due to a strong peso and a net repayment of foreign borrowings.
The amount of outstanding obligations as of April was higher by 7.7 percent or P363.32 billion than the level posted in the same month of 2011.
With the population estimated at 95.2 million by the National Statistical Coordination Board, the amount of total outstanding debt meant that each citizen had a share of P53,311.
Data on total outstanding debt from the Bureau of the Treasury showed that 59.5 percent or P3.02 trillion was borrowed from domestic lenders.
Local debt increased by P3.76 billion or 0.1 percent from the P3.015 trillion posted in March. The increase was attributed to the government having issued more local debt paper compared to the volume that was redeemed.
On the other hand, 40.5 percent or P2.056 trillion of total outstanding debt was booked in foreign currencies such as the dollar, the euro and the yen. Aside from loans extended by multilateral lenders and official aid from foreign governments, the Philippines also borrows abroad through the issuance of bonds denominated in these currencies.
Foreign borrowings decreased by P17.45 billion or 0.8 percent from the P2.07 trillion owed to overseas lenders in March.
The decrease in foreign debt was due mainly to the appreciation of the peso against the dollar, which removed P28.97 billion from the debt stock.
The government also paid P2.07 billion more than the amount of new foreign borrowings in April.
On the other hand, the appreciation of the yen and the euro against the dollar helped push up the outstanding debts by P13.04 billion.
Likewise, P540 million worth of debt incurred in March, but was reported too late to be recorded during that month, added to the obligations as of April.
In April, government debt paper denominated in dollars amounted to an equivalent of P1.06 trillion while yen and euro loans stood at P52.71 billion and P28.05 billion, respectively.
The government’s total contingent debt—composed mainly of sovereign guarantees—went down by P530 million or 0.1 percent to P548.96 billion. The decrease was attributed mainly to net repayments as well as the appreciation of the peso, yen and euro against the dollar.
Meanwhile, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas on Friday reported that outstanding loans extended by universal and commercial banks amounted to P2.89 trillion by the end of April, rising 19.2 percent from P2.42 trillion from a year ago.
The latest growth in outstanding loans was faster than the 18.7 percent recorded in March.
“Given the economy’s robust growth in the first quarter, bank lending could be expected to remain strong in the months ahead, thereby providing support to the real sector activity,” BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said in a statement.
The BSP said the robust expansion of loans was seen both in the lending to corporate entities and individual borrowers.
Short URL: http://business.inquirer.net/?p=64049