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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     5 November  2011

Philippine foreign exchange recovers
The gross international reserves (GIR) of the country recovered in October owing to foreign exchange operations and income from investments abroad by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

Data from the BSP showed that preliminary foreign currency holdings reached $75.814 billion in the first 10 months of the year, up 0.85 percent from $75.174 billion at end-September. Year-on-year, the GIR grew by 32.65 percent from $57.153 billion in the same period last year.

BSP Governor Amando Tetangco, Jr. said the buildup in the reserves level was brought about by income from investments abroad and foreign exchange operations, as well as revaluation gains on the BSP’s gold holdings.

Gold holdings went up by 16.13 percent to $7.910 billion from $6.811 billion in the same period last year.

Foreign exchange operations of the central bank grew by 34.55 percent to $398.86 million compared with $296.43 million at end-October last year.

Similarly, foreign investments reached $65.918 billion in the first 10 months, up 35.52 percent from $48.640 billion in the same period last year.

These inflows were partly offset by payments by the national government for its maturing foreign exchange obligations. The preliminary GIR data could cover 11.2 months worth of imports of goods and payments of services and income. It was also equivalent to 10.6 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 6.4 percent times based on residual maturity.
Net international reserves, which include revaluation of reserve assets, reached $75.8 billion compared to $75.2 billion at end-September this year.

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 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.

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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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