Gov’t ’16 debt up 43% to P453B
Government borrowings jumped 43 percent in 2016 to P453.1 billion on the back of increased issuances of treasury bills and bonds during the year.
The latest Bureau of the Treasury data showed that last year’s total gross borrowings rose from P317.6 billion in 2015.
Gross domestic borrowings hit P357.5 billion in 2016, up from P182.8 billion in the previous year.
Net treasury bills reached P23.5 billion; fixed-rate treasury bonds amounted to more than P233.9 billion, and retail treasury bonds (RTBs) accounted for more than P100 billion.
In September last year, the Treasury issued P100 billion in 10-year RTBs to small investors, more than triple the P30-billion minimum offering, at a fixed interest rate of 3.5 percent.
The 18th RTB sale of the Philippine government was the first issuance under President Duterte. It was aimed at augmenting funds for programs that were in line with the administration’s 10-point socioeconomic agenda, especially infrastructure projects.
This week, the Treasury will again auction off at least P30 billion in RTBs.
National Treasurer Rosalia V. De Leon said the 19th RTB issuance was in line with the Treasury’s aspiration to “really reach small investors far and wide.”
As for gross external borrowings in 2016, these declined to P95.6 billion from P134.8 billion in 2015.
Project loans from multilateral lenders amounted P28.2 billion; program loans were over P71.9 billion; while last year’s global bond exchange generated P34.7 billion.
Last year, the financing mix was 77-percent domestic, 23-percent external.
As domestic interest rates are still relatively low, the Duterte administration wanted to finance its programmed wider budget deficit, equivalent to 3 percent of the gross domestic product, in the next six years through a borrowing mix of 80-percent local and 20-percent foreign.
De Leon had said the government was “in the right trajectory in terms of meeting the [2017 borrowing] mix.”
As for debt payments, the P536.7 billion paid in 2016 was only a little higher than P534.1 billion in 2015, Treasury data showed.
Interest payments last year reached P304.5 billion, while amortization amounted to P232.2 billion.
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