PH dollar reserves slide to 2-year low of $80.616 billion in October
The Philippines’ dollar reserves slid to a two-year low of $80.616 billion in October partly due to a weak peso, preliminary Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas data released Tuesday showed.
The gross international reserves (GIR) level last month was the lowest since November 2015’s $80.173 billion.
In a statement, BSP Governor Nestor A. Espenilla Jr. attributed the further decline in the GIR from $80.962 billion in September mostly to “outflows arising from the foreign exchange operations of the BSP and payments made by the national government for its maturing foreign exchange obligations.”
The peso weakened to fresh 11-year lows in October, reaching 51.77:$1 on Oct. 25, the weakest close since July 25, 2006’s 51.87:$1.
The drop in GIR was nonetheless “partially offset by income from the BSP’s investments abroad and the national government’s net foreign currency deposits,” Espenilla said.
The end-October GIR can cover 8.4 months’ worth of imports of goods as well as payments of primary income and services.
Also, the dollar reserves level as of October were equivalent to 5.4 times the short-term external debt based on original maturity, as well as 3.6 times based on residual maturity.
The BSP defines short-term debt based on residual maturity as outstanding foreign debt whose original maturity was a year or less, plus principal payments on medium- and long-term loans of the government as well as the private sector that were due within the next 12 months.
As for net international reserves, or the difference between the GIR and total short-term liabilities, these also declined to $80.6 billion in October from September’s $80.95 billion.
The BSP had projected dollar reserves to slightly decrease to $80.5 billion by end-2017, equivalent to 8.3 months of import cover, from end-2016’s $80.7 billion. /je
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