The gross international reserves ended 2018 at $78.46 billion, surpassing the earlier projection of $76 billion for the year, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo said Monday.
Guinigundo said the reserves in December climbed from the $75.68-billion level recorded in November 2018.
He said the increase was due mainly to inflows arising from the BSP’s foreign exchange operations, net foreign currency deposits by the national government and revaluation gains from BSP’s gold holdings resulting from the increase in the price of gold in the international market.
“However, the increase in reserves was partially tempered by payments made by the national government for servicing its foreign exchange obligations,” he said.
“The end-December 2018 level of GIR continues to serve as an ample external liquidity buffer and is equivalent to 6.9 months’ worth of imports of goods and payments of services and primary income,” he said.
It was also equivalent to 5.8 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 4 times based on residual maturity.
Net international reserves, which refer to the difference between the GIR and total short-term liabilities, also increased by $2.78 billion to $78.44 billion as of end-December 2018 from $75.66 billion in November.
The Bangko Sentral expects the GIR to settle at $77 billion this year, as the balance of payments would likely remain in deficit.
The revised projections of economic data showed that the BoP was expected to post a lower deficit of $3.5 billion this year, from the projected $5.5-billion shortfall last year.
BoP summarizes the country’s economic transactions with the rest of the world.
Reserves hit $81.6 billion at end of 2017 but fell in the succeeding months as the country continued to incur trade deficit amounting to $2 billion to $4 billion a month.