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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        18  March 2011

Hot money still flowing in February

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Portfolio investments (FPI) continued to flow into the country from foreign shores in the first two months of the year.

In a statement, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said hot money transactions yielded a net inflow of $534 million in February or 285 percent higher than the $138.58 million recorded a year ago.

The central bank attributed the rise in registered investments to the surge in placements in peso-denominated government securities at $730 million, accounting for 49.6 percent, from $90 million in same period last year.

"Favorable yields have attracted foreign investor to peso government securities placements," the BSP said.

Investments in Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) listed shares amounted to $740 million, accounting for 50.4 percent of total FPI in February, and double the $370 million last year. The $730 million balance of registered investments, or 49.6 percent of the total, were in peso government securities and peso time deposits with minimum maturity of 90 days.

The top five investors came from the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Luxembourg and Hong Kong, contributing 89.6 percent to total registered investments.

Outflows of BSP-registered hot money during the period increased to $935 million from $362 million in February last year, the bulk of which were withdrawals from interim peso deposits. "These are believed to be in reaction to the sharp rise in oil prices stemming from escalating violence in the Middle East and North Africa, fuelling investor concerns," the BSP said. For the first two months of the year, transactions netted an inflow of $727 million, 135.6 percent higher than the $308.71 million in the same period last year.

Registered investments reached $3 billion, up 179.3 percent from last year.

The BSP noted that investments in PSE-listed shares of $1.4 billion exceeded the 2010 figure by 68.3 percent.

Major beneficiaries were banks, holding firms, utility companies, property firms and telecommunication companies.

Outflows likewise increased to $2.3 billion from $768 million in the same period last year, the bulk of which were withdrawals from interim peso deposits.

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