By Lee C. Chipongian
The country’s gross international reserves (GIR) increased to $82.89 billion as of end-February from $82.49 billion in the previous month, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said.
The BSP said in a statement that the “ample external liquidity buffer” was due to inflows arising from the BSP’s foreign exchange operations, net foreign currency deposits by the National Government (NG), and the BSP’s income from its investments abroad.
“However, the increase in reserves was partially tempered by payments made by the NG for servicing its foreign exchange obligations as well as revaluation losses from the BSP’s gold holdings, resulting from the decrease in the price of gold in the international market,” said the BSP.
The end-February GIR level is equivalent to 7.3 months’ worth of imports of goods and payments of services and primary income.
It is also equivalent to 6.3 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 4.1 times based on residual maturity, according to the BSP.
The BSP is managing foreign investments worth $70.44 billion while gold holdings total $8.36 billion. The current GIR is three percent higher than same time in 2018 of $80.43 billion.
Last year’s GIR stood at $79.19 billion as of end-December, lower than original projection of $80 billion. But in December, the BSP revised its forecast to $76 billion. For 2019, the BSP expects a GIR of $77 billion.