GIR level rises to $107.25 B in April

Published May 14, 2021, 5:20 PM

by Lee C. Chipongian

Philippines’ gross international reserves (GIR) reached $107.25 billion as of end-April, up by $2.77 billion from the previous GIR of $104.48 billion, according to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin E. Diokno.

Considered as healthy liquidity reserves or buffer against external shocks, the BSP said the current GIR is now equivalent to 12.3 months’ worth of imports of goods and payments of services and primary income from end-March’s 12 months.

Photographer: Paul Yeung/Bloomberg file

It is still about 7.5 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 5.2 times based on residual maturity, which was lower than end-March’s 5.3 times.

The BSP said by convention, GIR is considered adequate if it is good enough to finance at least three-months’ worth of imports of goods and payments of services and primary income. It is also adequate if it will provide 100 percent cover for foreign liabilities that are payable within a year.

The improvement to the GIR was due to the government’s recent ROP Global and Samurai bond sale and the proceeds were deposited to the BSP. The higher price of gold also contributed to GIR increase.

Outflows, as per usual, were due to government’s withdrawals to pay for maturing obligations.

Compared to same period in 2020, GIR increased by 17.93 percent from $90.94 billion.

The GIR is composed of foreign assets of the BSP invested in foreign-issued securities, monetary gold, and foreign exchange.

As of end-April, BSP’s foreign investments amounted to $90.84 billion, up from $77.88 billion same time in 2020, and from $89.73 billion in end-March this year.

Gold reserves slightly rose to $9.31 billion in the first four months, up from $8 billion last year and $9.11 billion in the previous month. Gold holdings increased in July last year when the BSP changed the way it calculates gold holdings from a passive to an active strategy in its management.

For 2021, the BSP expects GIR to expand to $114 billion but Diokno said last month that he sees the country’s reserves rising to as much as $120 billion this year. Last year, GIR ended with $110.18 billion from $87.84 billion in 2019.