Forex reserves rose to $75.5b in end-November

The country’s gross international reserves rose to a three-month high of $75.49 billion at the end of November, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. said Friday.

Data showed the level was higher than $74.71 billion in the end of October. This was the highest since $77.9 billion in the end of August this year.

Espenilla attributed the increase mainly to inflows arising from the BSP’s foreign exchange operations and income from investments abroad. 

However, the increase in the GIR level was partially tempered by the payments made by the government for its foreign exchange obligations and net foreign currency withdrawals, as well as the revaluation adjustments on the BSP’s gold holdings resulting from the decrease in the price of gold in the international market. 

“The end-November 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,” Espenilla said.

“It is also equivalent to 5.8 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 4.1 times based on residual maturity,” he said.

Net international reserves, which refer to the difference between the BSP’s GIR and total short-term liabilities, also increased by $0.78 billion to $75.47 billion as of end-November 2018 from the end-October 2018 level of $74.69 billion. 

The Bangko Sentral in May kept the reserves target of $80 billion this year, lower than the actual $81.5 billion in 2017.

Bangko Sentral said the reserves level by yearend would be consistent with the revised balance of payments projection of a $1.5-billion deficit from the earlier projection of a $1-billion surplus. It said the updated BO- projection incorporated the latest available data and reflected recent and prospective economic developments, both domestic and global. The current account is seen to post a higher deficit of $3.1 billion, equivalent to 0.9 percent of gross domestic product.

Gross international reserves ended 2017 at $81.5 billion, surpassing the target of $80.7 billion for the year, due mainly to inflows arising from the Bangko Sentral’s foreign exchange operations and revaluation adjustments on its gold holdings.​

Topics: Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas , Nestor Espenilla Jr , external debt , foreign exchange
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