By LEE C. CHIPONGIAN
Banks’ foreign currency deposit units (FCDU) released $17.8 billion worth of loans as of end-September, up 10.8 percent year-on-year and 1.9 percent from the previous quarter, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported.
FCDU loans totaled $16.1 billion the same period in 2018 and $17.5 billion as of end-June this year.
In a statement, BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said disbursements continue to exceed principal repayments.
The 10.8 percent year-on-year growth, in the meantime, was due to the borrowing firms’ higher working capital requirements.
At the end of the third quarter, the BSP said the maturity profile of the FCDU loan portfolio is still predominantly medium- to long-term debt. These are debts payable over a term of more than one year and is about 77.5 percent of total outstanding loans.
FCDU loan borrowers used these loans for these industries: 23 percent in the towing, tanker, trucking, forwarding, personal and other industries; 15.3 percent for merchandize and service exporters; 8.3 percent for public utility firms; and 4.9 percent for producers/manufacturers, including oil companies.
Gross disbursements as of end-September increased by 3.7 percent quarter-on-quarter to $17.3 billion, according to the BSP. Loan repayments also increased by 5.7 percent and “resulting in overall net disbursements.”
FCDU deposit liabilities totaled $41.1 billion as of end-September which was 0.5 percent lower compared to $41.3 billion end-June but 6.1 percent higher year-on-year from $38.8 billion.
The BSP said 96.9 percent of FCDU deposit liabilities are held by residents.
“These essentially constitute an additional buffer to the country’s gross international reserves,” it added.