Gov’t borrowings breach P3-T mark
The Philippines’ borrowings from January to October hit P3.22 trillion, exceeding the P3-trillion full-year program as the national government secured another P540 billion from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) last month to bolster its war chest for COVID-19 response.
End-October gross domestic borrowings amounted to a record P2.65 trillion, bloated by the P840 billion in short-term borrowings through the BSP and the Bureau of the Treasury’s repurchase agreement, the latest national government financing data showed.
After the initial P300 billion borrowed from the BSP at the onset of the pandemic in March was repaid in September, the national government again tapped the central bank for a bigger amount of financing in October.
National Treasurer Rosalia de Leon earlier noted that the repo with the BSP involved rollover debt or extended liabilities.
The government had programmed short-term borrowings from the BSP at P500 billion this year and P1 trillion next year.
The Treasury also raised funds to be spent on fighting COVID-19 from its auction of short-dated treasury bills, with a net of P420.3 billion as of October; P561.9 billion from fixed-rate treasury bonds and P827.1 billion from retail treasury bonds (RTBs).
Highest in 2010
On top of local fund-raising, the government borrowed a total of P574.4 billion from foreign sources during the first 10 months.
The 10-month external borrowings pile included P364.6 billion in program loans and P23.7 billion in project loans from bilateral development partners and multilateral lenders; P118.7 billion in dollar-denominated global bonds as well as P67.3 billion in euro bonds.
The end-October total borrowings already nearly matched the gross financing obtained by the national government from 2016 to 2019, which totaled P3.32 trillion.
The Philippines’ debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio reached 51.2 percent as of September, the highest since 2010, as its outstanding obligations jumped 18.5 percent year-on-year to P9.37 trillion while the economy shrank by an average of 10 percent during the first nine months.
Debt-to-GDP had been projected to jump to 53.9 percent by end-2020—poised to be the highest since 2006’s 58.8 percent—from a record-low of 39.6 percent in 2019. INQ
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