The country’s gross international reserves added $2.77 billion in April to reach $107.25 billion from $104.48 billion in March, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said Friday.
“The month-on-month increase in the GIR level reflected inflows that were mainly from the proceeds of the national government’s ROP Global and Samurai bond issuances, which were deposited with the BSP,” the BSP said in a statement.
“Further, an upward adjustment in the value of the BSP’s gold holdings due to the increase in the price of gold in the international market contributed to the higher GIR level,” it said.
These were partly offset by the outflows from the national government’s payments of its foreign currency debt obligations.
Data showed that on a year-on-year basis, the GIR increased by nearly $17 billion from $90.9 billion in April 2020.
It reached a record high of $110.1 billion in December 2020 before easing in the following months, as the balance of payments yielded a larger deficit in the first quarter as a result of the national government’s net withdrawal of foreign currency deposits with the BSP, which were largely used for debt servicing.
The BSP said the BOP registered a deficit of $2.84 billion in the first quarter, higher than the $68-million shortfall recorded in the same period last year.
The April GIR consisted of $90.843 billion in BSP’s foreign investments, $9.3 billion in gold holdings, $5 billion in foreign exchange, $1.2 billion in special drawing rights and $803 million in reserve position.
Foreign investments climbed from $89.7 billion in March, while gold holdings increased from $9.1 billion.
The BSP said the GIR level in April represented a more than adequate external liquidity buffer, which could help cushion the domestic economy against external shocks. This buffer is equivalent to 12.3 months’ worth of imports of goods and payments of services and primary income.
The figure is also about 7.5 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 5.2 times based on residual maturity.
Similarly, the net international reserves, which refers to the difference between the BSP’s GIR and total short-term liabilities, increased by $2.77 billion to $107.24 billion as of end-April 2021 from $104.47 billion in March.
The BSP expects the GIR level to settle at $114 billion by end-2021 and increase further to $117 billion in 2022 on expectation that the BOP position will remain strong.
Last year, the BOP posted a record surplus of $16.02 billion, pushing the GIR to $110.12 billion in December despite the challenging global environment highlighted by the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic.