June 8, 2023

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Dollar reserves hit $100 billion as of end-March

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THE PHILIPPINES’ dollar reserves increased to $100.2 billion as of end-March, reflecting the government’s foreign currency deposits with the central bank and higher prices of gold.  

Preliminary data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed gross international reserves (GIR) inched up by 2% as of March from the $98.2 billion seen at end-February.   

However, the end-March level was lower by 6.6% than the $107.31 billion a year ago. 

“The month-on-month increase in the GIR level reflected mainly the National Government’s (NG) net foreign currency deposits with the BSP, the upward revaluation of the BSP’s gold holdings due to the increase in the price of gold in the international market, and net income from the BSP’s investments abroad,” the central bank said. 

Based on BSP data, the value of gold reserves rose by 7.9% to $10.07 billion as of end-March from $9.33 billion as of end-February. This is also 7.1% higher than the $9.4-billion level a year earlier.   

Foreign currency deposits meanwhile more than doubled to $1.44 billion from $520.5 million as of February. Year on year, it declined by 18.6% from $1.77 billion a year ago.   

The end-March GIR level was enough to cover the 7.5 months’ worth of the country’s imports of goods and payments of services and primary income.   

It was also equivalent to about six times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 4.2 times based on residual maturity.   

Ample foreign exchange buffers protect the country from market volatility and ensure the country is capable of paying its debts in the event of an economic downturn. The country’s GIR reached $96 billion at end-2022.   

The country’s GIR picked up in March after the sustained increase of US dollar inflows such as remittances, business process outsourcing (BPO) revenues, and lower global oil and non-oil commodity prices in recent months, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist…


2023-04-05 06:45:57

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