By Lee C. Chipongian
The country’s gross international reserves (GIR) rose to $85.02 billion as of end May from $83.88 billion in the previous month, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported Friday.
In a statement, BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said the GIR is still “an ample external liquidity buffer.” The BSP has been accumulating foreign exchange at the end of 2018 and in the early months of 2019.
The GIR was also higher compared to the same period last year of only $79.20 billion. Diokno became governor of the BSP only in March.
At current level, the GIR is equivalent to 7.5 months’ worth of imports of goods and payments of services and primary income.
It is also about 5.1 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 3.6 times based on residual maturity.
According to the BSP, the month-on-month increase in the GIR level was because of inflows from the National Government’s (NG) net foreign currency deposits, as well as from the BSP’s foreign exchange operations and income from its investments abroad.
The revaluation gains from the BSP’s gold holdings likewise contributed to the higher GIR, with the price of gold increasing in the international market.
The BSP said that the GIR increase was however “tempered partially by payments made by the NG for servicing its foreign exchange obligations.”
As of end-May, the BSP has a gold hoard of $8.33 billion and foreign investments of $72.15 billion.