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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     8  October  2011                       

Philippine dollar reserves fall

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The Philippines' dollar reserves fell at end-September, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said on Friday.

In a statement, the BSP said preliminary data showed that the country's gross international reserves reached US$75.63 billion in the first nine months of the year, down 39 percent from $75.94 billion in the first eight months.

Year-on-year, the GIR, however, grew by 40.71 percent from $53.75 billion at end-September last year.

The central bank attributed the month-to-month decline on the government's debt payments of and revaluation losses on the BSP's gold holdings amid a decline in the price of gold in the international market.

Gold holdings of the BSP went down by 1.28 percent to $7.45 billion at end-September from $7.55 billion at end-August.

However, these outflows were partly offset by inflows from the foreign exchange operations and income from investments abroad of the BSP, as well as the foreign currency deposits of the government arising from proceeds of a program loan from the Asian Development Bank.

Foreign exchange operations of the central bank grew by 52.65 percent to reach $466.28 million at end-September from $305.45 million a year ago and by 36.01 percent from $342.82 million at end-August.

The preliminary reserves data could cover 11.1 months worth of imports of goods and payments of services and income, the BSP said.

It added that the GIR was also equivalent to 10.6 times the country's short-term external debt based on original maturity and 6.3 times based on residual maturity, or outstanding external debt with original maturity of one year or less, plus principal payments on medium- and long-term loans of the public and private sectors falling due within the next 12 months.

Net international reserves, which include revaluation of reserve assets, declined by $300 million to reach $75.6 billion at end-September from $75.9 billion at end-August.

NIR refers to the difference between the central bank's GIR 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 hold are mostly in the form of investments in foreign-issued securities, monetary gold and foreign exchange, of which 13 percent is in US dollars.

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