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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     7 November  2011

Philippines to limit borrowing
The Aquino administration will focus on its liability management program and contract less debt next year, according to a Department of Finance official.

Finance Undersecretary Rosalia de Leon told reporters that the country’s ample liquidity, high level of gross international reserves, and the low interest rate regime have allowed the government to prepare more “out-of-the-box” strategies to manage its debts.

“People can expect more outside-of-the-box funding undertakings next year. The focus would be on liability management rather than debt sale,” de Leon said.

Last month, the Philippines redeemed US$1.3 billion worth of debt and paid bondholders $1.7 billion, including accrued interest.

De Leon said the move showed the government’s economic strength despite the volatility in the international market.

“It’s opportunistic. The price of buying back was very favorable to us, while other bondholders did not sell their bonds to us [government]. It only shows that they’d rather keep an ROP credit,” she said, referring to Republic of the Philippines debt papers, which are dollar-denominated bonds.

“That’s one of the things we are looking at for next year,” de Leon said when asked whether the government would redeem more debts in 2012.

As of September, the country’s GIR stood at $75.639 billion, or $301 million lower than the $75.94 billion booked in August partly because of government payment of foreign loans.

For next year, the government plans to borrow P727.4 billion (US$17 billion), down from P830.9 billion this year.

De Leon said next year’s borrowing program, which is 12 percent lower that this year’s program, would favor the domestic market at 75 percent, with the remaining 25 percent to be sourced from the international market.

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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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