Gov’t 1st quarter borrowings jump 44% to P 1.38T
The national government’s gross borrowings surged by 44.4 percent to P1.38 trillion in the first quarter from P956.7 billion in the same period last year.
The funds raised were used mainly to finance heightened health and socioeconomic response to the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic.
According to latest data of the Bureau of the Treasury, the end-March gross domestic borrowings climbed to P1.3 trillion from P810 billion a year ago after the Treasury issued P463.3 billion in three-year retail treasury bonds (RTBs) in March.
Gross external financing in the first quarter, however, dropped to P79.4 billion from P146.7 billion a year ago. The country’s initial offshore commercial borrowings for the year—both the yen-denominated samurai and euro bond issuances—were settled with foreign investors only in April.
P3T programmed for 2021
The government has programmed to borrow a record P3.03 trillion this year. Of the total, P2.58 trillion will be raised locally mainly through the auction of treasury bills and bonds, including RTBs, which are deemed less-risky. Foreign borrowings will cover the rest.
In the first quarter, the national government also borrowed a net of P99.8 billion in short-dated treasury bills, P199 billion in fixed-rate treasury bonds, plus the P540 billion in zero-interest, short-term debt extended by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas at the start of the year.
In the same period, P62.4 billion in programmed foreign loans and P17 billion in loans for specific projects came on stream. These were mainly loans extended by multilateral banks and bilateral development partners.
Last March, the Philippines secured a total of $1.2 billion (about P58 billion) in project loans from three multilateral lenders to purchase vaccines against COVID-19 and for the rollout of mass vaccination nationwide, according to the Department of Finance. Of these, however, only the $500-million loan agreement with the World Bank has so far taken effect. INQ
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