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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        13  May 2011

Hot money surges in Philippines

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Foreign portfolio investments (FPI) registered net inflows last month amid the Philippines’ favorable credit conditions, the Philippine central bank said on Thursday.

In a statement, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said hot money yielded a net inflow of $674 million in April, up 174.6 percent from the $245 million in March and 220.7 percent more than the $210 million in April 2010.

BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. attributed the strong inflows to the surge in investments in government’s fixed-income peso securities.

Registered investments reached $1.7 billion, up from March’s $1.6 billion and 51.7 percent more than last year.

“The four weeks of April were characterized by positive flows except for the third week [Holy Week] when investors resorted to profit-taking in anticipation of the four-day weekend,” Tetangco said.

Investments in shares listed at the Philippine Stock Exchange reached $934 million, accounting for more than half of total registered investments and up 28.3 percent over the $728 million registered in the same month in 2010.

The central bank noted that major beneficiaries were holding firms, banks, telecom companies, property firms and utility companies, all of which comprised 90.8 percent of total registrations. Investments in peso government securities accounted for 40.3 percent of the total or $687 million, a 280-percent increase from $180 million a year ago.

The remaining balance of $84 million was spread out in peso time deposits, unit investments trust funds and money market instruments, the BSP said.

“Strong macroeconomic fundamentals buoyed the keen interest in portfolio investments to the country in 2011, in contrast to a year ago when uncertainties loomed in April, a month before the May 2010 elections, leading investors to remain in the sidelines,” Tetangco said.

The top five investors came from the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Luxembourg and Hong Kong, contributing 91.3 percent to total registered investments for the month.

Outflows decreased by 21.1 percent to $1 billion in April from $1.3 billion in March, but were 12.8 percent higher than the $913 million in April 2010.

Subsequently, cumulative transactions in the first four months resulted in a net inflow of $1.6 billion, up by 176.8 percent from $595 million in 2010. The year-to-date growth was attributed to the surge in investor interest in peso government securities, which amounted to $3.1 billion compared with only $419 million in the previous year.


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