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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs           8  July 2011

First half reserves meet full-year goal

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The Philippines' foreign exchange reserves surged in the first half of the year due to continued inflows arising from the operations and investments abroad of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

In a statement, the BSP said the country's gross international reserves jumped 42 percent to $69 billion at end-June, compared with $48.7 billion in the same six-month period last year. Month-on-month, GIR grew by 0.21 percentage points from $68.85 billion in May.

BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said the sustained rise in the reserves level could be attributed to the foreign exchange operations and income from investments abroad of the central bank.

Foreign investments surged 48 percent to $59.48 billion at end-June compared with $40.12 billion in the same period in 2010.

Foreign exchange operations resulted in a 10-percent increase to reach $359.13 million during the period.

But these inflows were partly offset by payments by the national government and the BSP of their maturing loans as well as revaluation losses on the central bank's gold holdings on account of the decline in the price of the precious commodity.

Gold holdings of the BSP stood at $7.61 billion compared with $$7.58 billion at end-May.

Tetangco said the preliminary GIR level for the first half could cover 10.3 months worth of imports of goods and payments of services and income. It was also equivalent to 10.2 times the country's short-term external debt based on original maturity and 5.9 times based on residual maturity.

Net international reserves, which include revaluation of reserve assets, reached $69 billion, up $100 million compared with the $68.8 billion at end-May. NIR refers to the difference between the BSP's dollar holdings and total short-term liabilities.

The BSP holds international reserves for the foreign exchange requirements of the country in case the domestic commercial banks' supply of the greenback and other convertible currencies falls short of demand.

The foreign assets that the BSP held are mostly in the form of investments in foreign-issued securities, monetary gold and foreign exchange, of which 13 percent is in US dollars. Monetary authorities expect the country's GIR to reach $70 billion by yearend.


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This year in Thailand-what next?

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By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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