BSP cuts banks’ reserve requirement to help fund PH growth
The country’s monetary authority on Thursday took the first small step toward its stated goal of freeing up more cash from banks’ vaults which, it is hoped, would help fund the growing Philippine economy.
The move will free up an estimated P90 billion from bank vaults which they could use productively as loans to corporations, consumers or investments in equity or debt securities.
In a press statement, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said its policy-making Monetary Board approved the reduction in the reserve requirement ratio by 1 percentage point.
The move is “an operational adjustment to support the BSP’s shift toward a more market-based implementation of monetary policy as well as its broad financial market reform agenda,” BSP Gov. Nestor Espenilla Jr. said.
The reduction will apply to the reservable liabilities of all banks and non-bank financial institutions with quasi-banking functions with reserve requirement currently at 20 percent.
The reduction in the reserve requirement ratios shall take effect on the reserve week beginning on Mar. 2, 2018, BSP said.
The move marks the first of what is expected to be a series of reserve requirement cuts by the central bank until Espenilla’s goal of reducing bank reserves to “single digit levels” is achieved.
The policy was communicated to the financial community soon after the BSP chief assumed office last year. He noted that, in the region, the Philippines is the only economy of its size to require banks to immobilize so much cash in their vaults.
This cash, once freed up, could be used more productively to help finance the P9-trillion infrastructure buildup program that the Duterte administration plans to roll out for the country.
“In deciding to reduce the reserve requirement ratios, the Monetary Board reaffirms the BSP’s commitment to gradually lessen its reliance on reserve requirements for managing liquidity in the financial system,” Espenilla said.
“The Monetary Board believes that the BSP has attained sufficient progress in its shift towards the use of market-based monetary instruments since the adoption of the interest rate corridor framework in June 2016,” he added.
Even as the BSP continues to refine its instruments and operations under the IRC, the Monetary Board observed that the BSP now has ample scope to mitigate the potential liquidity impact of a phased reduction in the reserve requirement via offsetting auction-based monetary operations.
The Monetary Board noted that the reduction in reserve requirements would help mobilize liquidity in support of economic activity as well as capital market development over the medium term.
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