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Debt-to-GDP drops to 35.5% at end-Sept.

/ 12:20 AM February 03, 2017

The general government debt inched up as of end-September last year, but its share to the gross domestic product (GDP) declined amid sustained robust economic growth.

In a statement Thursday, Finance Undersecretary Gil S. Beltran said the general government debt-to-GDP ratio at end-September 2016 dropped to 35.5 percent from 36.7 percent a year ago “due to the sustained improvement in the economy.” GDP growth averaged 7 percent during the January to September period last year.

The ratio declined even as the nominal government debt rose 4.2 percent to P5.022 trillion from P4.819 trillion in 2015, said Beltran, who is also the Department of Finance’s chief economist.

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“Domestic borrowings accounted for more than half of the total general government debt at P2.909 trillion, while the remaining P2.113 trillion was sourced from external lenders,” Beltran said.

The general government debt is comprised of the aggregated outstanding liabilities of the national government, the Central Bank Board of Liquidators or CB-BOL, social security institutions and local government units (LGUs) less intra-sector holdings of government securities including those held by the Bond Sinking Fund (BSF)/Securities Stabilization Fund.

Beltran attributed the increase in general government debt to the 2.5-percent growth in the outstanding national government debt to P6.087 trillion from the previous year’s P5.936 trillion.

“The national government debt net of the BSF holdings reached P5.447 trillion, 3.9-percent higher than the P5.242 trillion during the same period in 2015 as a combined result of peso depreciation (P1.53 year-on-year) and lower BSF holdings,” the Finance official said.

Also, “LGU debt grew by 11.4 percent to P77.3 billion as of September compared to the prior year’s level of P69.4 billion,” Beltran added.

Intrasector debt holdings was up 2 percent to P503.1 billion as of end-September, as social security institutions increased their government security holdings. Ben O. de Vera

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