Dollar reserves hit more than 2-yr high
The country’s dollar reserves as of the end of the first quarter hit $82.6 billion, the highest in more than two years, following a successful global bond sale, preliminary data of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas showed.
The end-March gross international reserves (GIR) was not only higher than the $81.9 billion in February but also the highest since December 2013, when the reserves hit $83.2 billion.
BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. attributed the increase largely to “net foreign currency deposits by the government (including proceeds from its issuance of ROP global bonds worth $495 million and program loans extended by the Asian Development Bank), the BSP’s income from overseas investments and revaluation adjustments on its foreign currency-denominated reserves.”
In February, the Philippines sold $2 billion in 25-year sovereign bonds at a record low yield of 3.7 percent. Of the amount, $500 million will be infused into the budget, while $1.5 billion will be used to retire previously issued IOUs maturing between October this year and October 2034.
The increase in GIR in March, however, was partially offset by the payment of the government’s maturing foreign exchange obligations and the revaluation adjustments on the central bank’s gold holdings due to a decline in global gold prices, according to the BSP.
The first quarter GIR level can cover 10.3 months worth of imports of goods and services, the BSP said.
The amount was also equivalent to 5.4 times the short-term external debt based on original maturity and four times based on residual maturity, it added.
Net international reserves, or the difference between the GIR and total short-term liabilities, rose to $82.6 billion at end-March from $81.9 billion a month ago.
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