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Weak peso raises PH debt to P6.5 trillion

The peso is expected to continue depreciating in the near term as the dollar rallies against all currencies due to the recovery in the American economy, posing a threat to the Philippines’ own performance this year. AFP FILE PHOTO

A weaker peso brought the government’s outstanding debt to a new record high of P6.5 trillion by October, according to the Bureau of Treasury in figures released on Wednesday.

The national government’s end-October outstanding obligations rose 0.9 percent from P6.4 trillion as of September and increased by 7.1 percent from P6 trillion in the same 10-month period last year.

“The effect of local currency depreciation on foreign currency debt considerably affected the end-month level of national government debt,” the bureau said in a statement.

The peso weakened to 51.686:$1 as of end-October from the previous month’s exchange rate of 50.83:$1.

The bureau said that despite the increase in debt, its share in the economy, or the national government debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio, declined to 41.7 percent by end-September from 42.4 percent several months ago amid sustained economic growth.

Last month, the government reported that GDP grew 6.9 percent in the third quarter, exceeding expectations and making the Philippines the second fastest-growing economy in Asia.

“This was due to the weakening of the peso against the US dollar,” the bureau said.

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