ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
General gov't debt-to-GDP ratio improves in September
The ratio of the general government (GG) debt to the gross domestic product (GDP) improved in September 2016, supported by the sustained climb of the Philippine economy, the Department of Finance (DOF) said Thursday.
“Despite the rise in nominal debt, the GG debt-to-GDP ratio has gone down to 35.5 percent from 36.7 percent in Q3 2015 due to the sustained improvement in the economy,” Finance Undersecretary Gil S. Beltran said in an emailed statement.
The economy grew by 7.0 percent in the third quarter of 2016.
This comes even after the nominal GG debt was registered at P5.022 trillion in September, 4.2 percent higher than the P4.819 trillion recorded in the previous year.
University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) School of Economics Dean Cid L. Terosa said the latest government debt-to-GDP ratio was expected.
“Although the peso weakened, the value of the peso did not drop drastically enough to bloat our dollar-denominated debt. Also, our gross international reserves reached levels higher than last year,” Terosa told GMA News Online.
“Domestic borrowings accounted for more than half of the total GG Debt at P2.909 trillion, while the remaining P2.113 trillion were sourced from external lenders,” Beltran noted.
The GG debt covers the outstanding obligations of the National Government (NG), the Central Bank Board of Liquidators (CB-BOL), social security institutions (SSIs) and local government units (LGUs), excluding the intra-sector debt holdings of government securities, including those held by the Bond Sinking Fund (BSF).
“NG debt net of the BSF holdings ... reached P5.447 trillion, 3.9 percent higher than the P5.242 trillion during the same period in 2015 as a combined result of peso depreciation and lower BSF holdings.” Beltran said.
LGU debt also by 11.4 percent to P77.3 billion, up from P69.4 billion in the same comparable period.
“The increase in borrowings are to be used for procurement financing public services as well as economic enterprises,” DOF official noted.
Moving forward, Terosa said the debt-to-GDP ratio is likely to expand, given the continued depreciation of the Philippine peso.
“I believe that the debt-to-GDP ratio will probably maintain its level or even increase slightly because of the weaker peso.”
The peso hit a 10-year intraday low on November 24, 2016 after the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) hinted at raising interest rates when it meets in December, which the Fed actually did.
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