PH is 2nd biggest recipient of multilateral assistance
The Philippines so far enjoyed the second-biggest amount of loans extended by multilateral lenders among Asean+3 countries to fight the health and socioeconomic ills inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Data compiled by the regional macroeconomic surveillance organization Asean+3 Macroeconomic and Research Office (Amro) showed that the Philippines obtained $3.68 billion in loans from the Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) ($2.33 billion), the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank ($750 million) and the Washington-based World Bank ($600 million).
But the Amro tally did not include the $900 million in loans green-lit by the World Bank for the Philippines on Dec. 16 yet.
Across Asean+3, Indonesia secured the biggest amount of loans from international financial institutions totaling $4.25 billion to date.
China borrowed $20 million from the ADB for a private sector-led project; Cambodia, $286 million from the ADB and the World Bank; Laos, $78 million from the ADB and the World Bank; Myanmar, $792 million from the ADB, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank; Thailand, $2 billion from the ADB and the AIIB, and Vietnam, $110 million from the AIIB and the World Bank.
On the other hand, Brunei, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, and South Korea did not borrow from multilateral lenders for their COVID-19 response.
“Amid this turbulence, the economies in the Asean+3 region entered into the pandemic crisis with ample foreign reserves and adequate policy space for financial stability. So far, the Asean+3 economies have been battling the pandemic with less reliance on external emergency financing,” Amro specialists Beomhee Han and Naoto Watanabe said.
“While more than 80 countries have received financial assistance from the IMF since the onset of the pandemic, in this region, only Myanmar received IMF funding. The Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization, the region’s financing arrangement, remains untapped,” they added. —Ben O. de Vera