Gov’t debt soars by P451 billion in August

Published October 1, 2020, 5:00 AM

by Chino S. Leyco

The national government’s debt soared by nearly half-a-trillion pesos last month amid the Duterte administration’s aggressive borrowings to fund the country’s coronavirus response, data from the Bureau of the Treasury showed.

The outstanding debt of the national government stood at P9.615-trillion as of August this year, higher by 4.9 percent, or P451 billion, compared with the previous month’s level of P9.164-trillion.

Of the total debt stock, 69.8 percent are held by Filipino lenders, while 30.2 percent were sourced from foreign creditors.

The total debt as of August translates to an estimated P87,409 share for every Filipino.

Based on the Treasury report, the increase was mainly due to higher borrowings in the domestic market, which added by P456 billion in August alone.

But the additional debt sourced from the domestic market was soften by the strong peso that dragged down the value of the government’s foreign obligations by minus P5.6 billion.

The total debt in August, meanwhile, was also higher by by 21 percent, or P1.676 trillion, compared with P7.939 trillion in the same month last year.

Year-on-year, domestic debt rose by 27 percent in August to P6.713 trillion from P5.272 trillion, while foreign obligations jumped by 8.8 percent from P2.667 trillion to P2.902 trillion.

Since the beginning of the year, the government’s debt has risen by 24.4 percent, or P1.884 trillion.

Earlier, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said that borrowings for the year will more than usual due to higher spending requirement for the coronavirus response and lower revenue collections due to slow economic activity.

As of last month, total borrowings of the Duterte administration reached P2.469 trillion.

Bulk of the borrowings were sourced from the local market with P1.96 trillion, composed of P827.12 billion retail treasury bonds, P447.8 billion long-dated IOUs, P385 billion Treasury bills and a P300 million loan from the central bank.

The government also borrowed P509.7 billion from foreign creditors in the first eight-months of the year, up by 85 percent compared with P275.55 billion a year ago.

Of the total offshore borrowings, P306.53 billon were raised through program loans, while P118.73 billion were proceeds from the sale of global bonds, and P67.33 billion from the euro debt markets.

The government also borrowed P17.09 billion in project loans during the period.

In 2020, the Duterte administration expects the outstanding debt will hit more than P10 trillion.