MANILA – The Philippines’ gross international reserves (GIR) has shrunk to a seven-year low in the first nine months of 2018 due to outflows related to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ foreign exchange operations.
Preliminary data from the BSP showed that the GIR stood at $75.161 billion, lower than the $77.933-billion recorded as of end-August and compared with the $89.962-billion as of end-September 2017.
It was the lowest GIR level since September 2011, when foreign reserves totaled $75.174 billion.
“The month-on-month decline in the GIR level was due mainly to outflows arising from the foreign exchange operations of the BSP, payments made by the national government for its maturing foreign exchange obligations, and revaluation adjustments on the BSP’s gold holdings resulting from the decrease in the price of gold in the international market,” BSP officer-in-charge deputy governor Diwa Guinigundo said.
“However, the decline in the GIR level was partially tempered by the NG’s net foreign currency deposits,” Guinigundo said.
The GIR is a measure of a country’s ability to settle import payments and service foreign debt.
“At this level, the GIR nonetheless continues to serve as an ample external liquidity buffer and is equivalent to 6.8 months’ worth of imports of goods and payments of services and primary income,” according to the central bank official.
The end-September foreign reserves is is also equivalent to 5.9 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 4.2 times based on residual maturity.
Net international reserves or the difference between the BSP’s GIR and total short-term liabilities, likewise decreased by $2.77 billion to $75.15 billion as of end-September, from $77.92 billion as of end-August. (GMA News)