The country’s US dollar buffer stock dropped to $107.16 billion as of end-September from $107.96 billion end-August, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported on Wednesday, Oct. 13.
The slight decrease in the gross international reserves (GIR) was due to National Government’s foreign currency debt service payments during the period. It also declined because of the lower price of gold in the global market. The GIR is composed of foreign assets of the BSP invested in foreign-issued securities, monetary gold, and foreign exchange.
Compared to same period in 2020, the GIR increased by $6.72 billion from $100.44 billion. It was also in September last year when the GIR topped $100 billion for the first time.
The BSP said the latest GIR level is “more than adequate external liquidity buffer.”
Based on preliminary data, the GIR is equivalent to 10.8 months’ worth of imports of goods and payments of services and primary income. It is also 7.6 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 5.2 times based on residual maturity.
As of end-September, the BSP-managed foreign investments as a component of the GIR amounted to $90.24 billion while gold holdings totaled $8.85 billion. The foreign exchange reserves amounted to $3.27 billion while reserves in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was at $786 million.
The GIR reported a significant increase in August with $4 billion in special drawing rights (SDR) from the IMF. The fresh SDR of $2.78 billion is available for the BSP and for government utilization for policy support or pandemic response.
The country’s GIR is expected to climb by as much as $114 billion by end-2021 and $117 billion by 2022.