August 05, 2016 at 11:40 pm
Julito G. Rada
The country’s gross international reserves in July reached a record-high of $85.491 billion due mainly to the foreign exchange operations of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and revaluation adjustments in gold holdings as the price of the precious metal increased in the international market.
The July figure surpassed the previous all-time high of $85.284 billion recorded a month ago. They were above the Bangko Sentral’s target of $82.7 billion this year.
Bangko Sentral Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. in a statement Friday income generated from investments abroad, as well as net foreign currency deposits by the national government also contributed to the higher reserves.
“These were partially offset by payments made by the national government for its maturing foreign exchange obligations,” Tetangco said.
Data showed the amount of Bangko Sentral’s gold holdings in July rose to $8.505 billion from $8.336 billion a month ago. Foreign investments increased to $73.322 billion from $73.295 billion in June.
Tetangco said the end-July reserves level could cover 10.5 months’ worth of imports of goods and payments of services and income. The reserves were equivalent to 6 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity, and 4.3 times based on residual maturity.
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.
Net international reserves, which refer to the difference between the Bangko Sentral’s GIR and total short-term liabilities, meanwhile, rose $0.21 billion to $85.49 billion as of end July from the end-June NIR of $85.28 billion.
Tetangco on July 19, announced the upward revision of reserves in June to $85.284 billion from $83.8 billion due mainly to price fluctuation in foreign exchange and gold holdings.
The reserves as of end-2015 increased to $80.66 billion from $79.54 billion a year ago.
Bangko Sentral expects the reserves to rise to $82.7 billion at the end of 2016, or equivalent to nine months’ import cover. The increase is expected be triggered by a balance of payments surplus of $2 billion this year, the same level as in 2015.
The current account surplus this year is expected to be slightly higher at $5.8 billion, equivalent to 1.9 percent of GDP, compared with $5.7 billion in the December 2015 estimate.