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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        8  April 2011

Forex reserves climb to new record

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The Philippine’s foreign exchange reserves surged by almost half to register a new high in the first quarter of the year, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said on Thursday.

In a statement, the BSP said the country’s gross international reserves (GIR) jumped by 45.55 percent to US$66.2 billion at end-March from $45.599 billion in the same three-month period in 2010.

Deputy Gov. Juan de Zuniga Jr. said the appreciable buildup in the GIR level was mainly because of the proceeds of the national government’s global bond issuance—composed of the $1.5-billion dollar-denominated bonds and $1.25-billion peso-denominated bonds—the BSP’s foreign exchange operations, income from investments abroad and revaluation gains on the central bank’s gold holdings on account of rising prices.

Gold holdings of the central bank appreciated by19 percent to reach $7.08 billion at end-March from $5.951 billion in the same period in 2010.

Foreign investments surged by 51 percent to $57.186 billion from $37.891 billion last year, while receipts from foreign exchange operations fell 19.45 percent to $418.29 million from $519.31 million in 2010.

These inflows were partly offset by payments for maturing foreign exchange obligations of the national government, the BSP said.

The end-March dollar reserves could cover 10.2-months of imports of goods and payments of services and income. They are also equivalent to 10.5 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 5.9 times based on residual maturity.

Excluding short-term liabilities, the country’s ne international reserves reached $66.2 billion, up by $2.3 billion from the end-February’s $63.9 billion.

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 holds 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 are looking at the country’s GIR level this year to reach $68 billion to $70 billion.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
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.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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