The country’s gross international reserves as declined to a two-month low of $93.95 billion as of end-November from $94.03 billion in October after the government settled some of its foreign debt, data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas show.
“The month-on-month decrease in the GIR level reflected mainly the national government’s payments of its foreign currency debt obligations and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ net foreign exchange operations,” the BSP said in a statement.
It said the latest GIR level represented a more than adequate external liquidity buffer equivalent to 7.5 months’ worth of imports of goods and payments of services and primary income.
It was also about 6.9 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 4.2 times based on residual maturity.
The net international reserves, which refer to the difference between the BSP’s reserve assets and reserve liabilities , went down to $93.93 billion as of end-November from $93.99 billion a month earlier.
Latest data from the Bureau of the Treasury showed the country’s total outstanding debt as of end-October ballooned to a new record of P13.64 trillion, up by P123.92 billion or 0.92 percent from the end-September figure of P13.52 trillion, driven by more borrowings of the government and weaker peso against the US dollar.
The government’s domestic debt amounted to P9.36 trillion, which was P54.58 billion or 0.59 percent higher than the end-September 2022 level.
Domestic debt comprised 68.58 percent of the total debt stock and increased P1.18 trillion or 14.50 percent since the beginning of the year on government’s continued preference for domestic financing to mitigate foreign currency risk.
The government’s external debt amounted to P4.28 trillion, P69.34 billion or 1.64 percent higher than the end-September level.
Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. chief economist Michael Ricafort said the GIR, especially for the remaining months of the year, could increase on seasonal higher inflows in OFW remittances, BPO revenues, foreign tourism and proceeds from the proposed US dollar-denominated bond issuance by the national government.
“But it could still be offset by some foreign debt payments and possible forex intervention activities as signaled recently alongside other measures to help stabilize the peso and overall inflation,” Ricafort said. Julito G. Rada