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January 19, 2009

Philippines: Balance of payment surplus seen at least $500m in Jan
The Philippines may post a balance of payments (BOP) surplus of at least $500 million this month with proceeds from the government's global bond issue helping to reverse a huge deficit in December, Reuters quoted a senior central bank official as saying.

Foreign exchange inflows were likely to be boosted by the $1.5 billion proceeds from the Philippines' sovereign bond issue earlier this month, the first Asian debt issue this year, said the official who declined to be named.

Official development assistance loans from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank which were due to come in last month, as well as proceeds from asset sales of state-run National Power Corp were also expected to boost surplus in January, the official said at the weekend.

On Friday, the central bank said the Philippines' BOP deficit stood at $276 million in December -- the first deficit for that month since 2003.

That brought the 2008 overall BOP surplus to a lower-than-expected $88 million -- a four-year low -- against $8.58 billion in 2007.

In December, the central bank estimated that the full-year 2008 BOP surplus would be about $500 million.

No official estimate has been released for this year but central bank governor Amando Tetangco said last month a small BOP surplus was likely as a global recession impacts the country's key electronics exports and remittances of Filipinos working overseas.

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