ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
PHL payments position posts deficit for second straight month
The Philippine balance of payments (BOP) position registered a deficit for the second successive month in February, albeit lower than a month earlier and year earlier figures, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said Monday.
Data released by the central bank showed the BOP position registered a $429-million deficit in February, compared with a $531-million deficit in January and $436 million in February 2017.
The BOP details the transactions of the country with the rest of the world during a specific period. A deficit means more funds flowed out of the country than went in.
“Outflows in February 2018 stemmed mainly from foreign exchange operations of the BSP and payments made by the national government for its maturing foreign exchange obligations,” the central bank said.
The BSP noted these were partially offset by net foreign currency deposits of the national government, and income from the BSP’s investments abroad during the month.
Security Bank Corp. economist Angelo Taningco noted the BOP position was largely in line with expectations.
“We expected the BOP deficit in February with our estimate of $413 million, close to the actual figure of $419 million,” he said.
“This was because we saw the foreign reserves down for the month,” he said.
Taningco said the Philippines is likely to register more payments deficits.
“We continue to foresee a BOP deficit, especially if the foreign reserves would again exhibit a downward trajectory. We attribute this to sustained trade-in-goods deficit,” he said.
The latest figures brought the year-to-date BOP position to a $961-million deficit compared with a deficit of $445 million in the same two months of 2017.
“The higher cumulative BOP deficit for the first two months of the year may be attributed partly to the widening merchandise deficit in January 2018 as well as higher net outflows of foreign portfolio investments for the first two months of the year,” the BSP said.
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