The country's overall balance of payments (BOP) position posted a surplus of US$448 million in March 2020, lower than the US$627 million BOP surplus recorded in the same month last year. The BOP surplus in March 2020 reflected mainly the inflows arising from the BSP's foreign exchange operations as well as income from its investments abroad, and the National Government's foreign currency deposits with the BSP. These inflows were partially offset, however, by the foreign currency withdrawals made by the National Government to pay its foreign currency debt obligations during the month in review.
The BOP surplus in March reduced the cumulative BOP deficit for the period January - March 2020 to US$68 million, from a deficit of US$516 million for the first two months of the year. Notwithstanding, the current year-to-date BOP level is a reversal from the US$3.8 billion BOP surplus recorded in the first quarter of 2019. This development may be attributed partly to the reversal of foreign portfolio investments to net outflows from net inflows in the first quarter of 2019, even as the merchandise trade deficit declined.
The BOP position reflects the final gross international reserves (GIR) level of US$88.86 billion as of end-March 2020. At this level, the GIR represents an ample external liquidity buffer, which is equivalent to around 7.9 months' worth of imports of goods and services and payments of primary income. Further, it is also about 5.3 times the country's short-term external debt based on original maturity and 3.8 times based on residual maturity.1
1 Short-term debt based on residual maturity refers to outstanding external debt with original maturity of one year or less, plus principal payments on medium- and long-term loans of the public and private sectors falling due within the next 12 months.
Central Bank of the Philippines published this content on 01 June 2020 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 02 June 2020 04:20:02 UTC