ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
PHL payments position swings to surplus in August
The Philippine balance of payments (BOP) position swung to a surplus in August after seven straight months of deficits, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said Wednesday.
Data released by the central bank showed the country registered a $1.27-billion surplus in August, a reversal from the $7-million deficit a year earlier.
The BOP consists of Philippine transactions with the rest of the world during a specific period. A surplus means more funds entered the country, while a deficit means more funds went out.
“Inflows in August 2018 stemmed mainly from net foreign currency deposits of the national government and income from the BSP’s investments abroad during the month,” the central bank said.
“These were partially offset, however, by the payments made by the national government for its foreign exchange obligations and foreign exchange operations of the BSP during the month in review,” it said.
Notwithstanding the surplus posted in August, the cumulative BOP position in the first eight months of the year posted a deficit of $2.44 billion, compared with a $1.39-billion deficit in the same period in 2017.
“The higher cumulative BOP deficit for the period may be attributed partly to the widening merchandise trade deficit for the first seven months of the year that was brought about by the sustained rise in imports of raw materials and intermediate goods as well as capital goods to support domestic economic expansion,” the BSP said.
The reported BOP position is consistent with the final gross international reserve level of $77.93 billion as of end-August 2018.
“At this level, the GIR represents a more than ample liquidity buffer and is equivalent to 7.1 months’ worth of imports of goods and payments of services and primary income,” the BSP said.
It is also equivalent to 6.4 times the country's short-term external debt based on original maturity and 4.4 times based on residual maturity, according to the central bank.
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