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December 25, 2008

Philippines plans to borrow $1.9bn Q1 2009
The Philippines said on Wednesday it would borrow 92 billion pesos ($1.9 billion) in the local debt market in the first quarter of 2009, nearly 51 percent higher than its planned debt sales in the current quarter, reported Reuters.

The Philippines has said it needs to borrow more from domestic and overseas markets next year to fund a budget deficit expected to widen to 102 billion pesos from as much as 75 billion pesos in 2008.

The government aims to boost infrastructure spending in the first half of 2009 to shield the economy from the global downturn and meet a growth target of between 3.7 and 4.7 percent next year.

It plans domestic borrowing of 386.5 billion pesos in 2009, up 16 percent from 2008.
Government documents showed Manila will auction Treasury bills every two weeks in the first quarter to raise a total 42 billion pesos. It will also issue 50 billion pesos worth of Treasury bonds, including a 10-year zero coupon bond in February.

The government plans to borrow 61 billion pesos in the fourth quarter this year. But the Treasury has actually sold less in the quarter and rejected bids at some auctions because investors spooked by the global financial crisis were demanding higher yields than it was willing to pay.

The Treasury did not give its actual domestic borrowing for the fourth quarter.

National Treasurer Roberto Tan earlier said the government hopes to raise the bulk of its $1.5 billion overseas borrowing needs in 2009 in the first quarter, if market conditions permit.

Manila made its sole sovereign debt issue this year in January, raising $500 million. It later said it would borrow as much as $750 million more to partly fund higher spending, but dropped the plan after credit markets seized up in the wake of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy in September.

The Philippines total foreign debt fell 2.3 percent to $53.5 billion at the end of September from $54.8 billion at the end of June, partly due to debt repayments by both the private and public sectors, the central bank said separately on Wednesday.
The public sector accounted for almost three-fourths of the total debt.

The country's foreign debt service burden, which includes principal and interest payments on foreign loans, accounted for 10.1 percent of total revenues from exports of goods and services in the nine months to September, slightly lower than the 10.5 percent in the previous year.

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