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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        8  June 2011

Philippine reserves continue rising

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THE Philippine's foreign exchange reserves surged by a third in the first five months of the year to register a new high, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said on Tuesday.

In a statement, the BSP said the gross international reserves (GIR) jumped by 30.6 percent to reach US$68.8 billion at end-May from the $47.7 billion in the same period last year. The May figure also increased 0.4 percent from the $68.5 billion recorded at end-April this year.

BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said the sustained rise in the reserves level was mainly because of the foreign exchange operations and income from investments abroad of the central bank.

Foreign investments surged 33 percent to $59.246 billion at end-May compared with $39.5 billion in the same period last year.

Foreign exchange operations resulted in a 10 percent increase to $374.72 million from $338.18 million at end-April.

These inflows were partly trimmed by payments of the national government for its maturing foreign exchange obligations as well as revaluation losses on the BSP's gold holdings on account of the month-on-month decline in gold prices in May.

Gold holdings of the BSP slowed by 0.11 percent to reach $7.589 billion from end-April's $7.598 billion.

Tetangco said the preliminary end-May GIR could cover 10.6-months worth of imports of goods and payments of services and income.

It was also equivalent to 10.9 times the country's short-term external debt based on original maturity and six times based on residual maturity.

Net international reserves (NIR), which include revaluation of reserve assets, reached $68.7 billion at end-May, higher by $0.2 billion than the end-April figure of $68.5 billion.

NIR refers to the difference between the 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 the US dollars.

Monetary authorities are looking at higher growth assumptions in the country's GIR this year at $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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