‘Hot money’ outflow hits 32-month high
The net outflow of so-called “hot money” in September hit a 32-month high amid profit-taking among foreign investors, coupled with less new investments due external uncertainty and a deadly blast in the President’s hometown, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas data showed.
Last month, the Philippines posted a $807.2-million net outflow in foreign portfolio investment, the highest since January 2014’s of $1.8 billion.
Net outflow meant more portfolio investments left than entered the country that month.
In September, the P2.1-billion hot money outflow exceeded the P1.3 billion in inflow.
In a statement, the BSP attributed to “profit-taking” last month’s outflow, which was up 56.5 percent from a month ago’s $1.3 billion and 23 percent higher than year-ago’s $1.7 billion.
The 27.5-percent month-on-month drop from $1.8 billion and 6.9-percent year-on-year decline from $1.4 billion in foreign portfolio investments inflow, meanwhile, were blamed by the BSP on “lingering uncertainty on the timing of the next interest rate hike in the United States; the bombing in Davao City in early September, which prompted the government to declare a ’state of lawless violence’ in the country, and the European Central Bank’s decision to discontinue its bond-buying program.”
BSP data showed that September’s outflow was the highest since June 2015’s $2.2 billion, while the inflow was the lowest since April this year.
The net outflow in September ended four straight months of net inflows following April’s $354.1-million net outflow, which had been attributed to market jitters ahead of the national elections on May 9. It was more than double of September last year’s $324 million in net outflow and a reversal of August’s $427 million net inflow.
In September, 88.7 percent of registered investments were in Philippine Stock Exchange-listed securities, mostly pertaining to banks; food, beverage and tobacco companies; holding firms; property companies and telecommunication firms, the BSP said.
All transactions yielded net outflows of $654 million in PSE-listed securities; $153 million in peso government securities; and below $1 million in other peso debt securities.
The top five investor-countries in September were Luxembourg, Malaysia, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States, which accounted for a combined 72.3 percent of the total.
The US, meanwhile, was still the main destination of outflows, with 76.7 percent of total remittances.
Year-to-date, a $1.3-billion net inflow of foreign portfolio investment was recorded, as the $13.7-billion inflow as of Oct. 2 outpaced the $12.5-billion outflow.
The year-to-date net inflow also reversed the $414-million net outflow a year ago.
The BSP also noted that the total net inflow during the third quarter, at $687 million, improved from the first quarter’s $410 million as well as the second quarter’s $170 million.
The BSP attributed the jump in third-quarter net hot money inflow to “renewed” interest in peso-denominated government securities as well as an industrial firm’s initial public offering during the July to September period.
Foreign portfolio investments are in the form of placements in publicly listed shares, government and private sector IOUs, and deposit certificates.
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