Gov’t debt payments decline 40% in Q1

Published May 15, 2022, 8:00 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

Debt payments by the national government declined significantly in the first-quarter due to lower amortization, data from the Bureau of the Treasury showed.

The national government’s debt servicing reached P313.65 billion in January to March, or 40 percent lower than the P521.51 billion paid out in the same period last year.

Debt servicing refers to payments of both interest and principal. The debt service burden excludes actual outflows such as rescheduling or refinancing of existing debt and conversion of debt to equity.

Payment of principal declined by 58 percent to P164.32 billion from P395.65 billion in the first three months last year.

The end-March principal payments consist of domestic payments of P153.01 billion, down 39 percent compared with P252.85 billion in the previous year.

Likewise, foreign payments dropped significantly by 92 percent from P142.8 billion to just P11.3 billion in the first quarter.

Meanwhile, interest payments rose by 18 percent to P149.33 billion from P125.85billion in 2021.

Of the total, domestic and foreign interest payments reached P113.63 billion and P35.7 billion, respectively.

In the first-quarter, domestic interest payments jumped 25 percent from P90.61 billion, while foreign interest servicing increased by 1.3 percent from P35.24 billion.

In March alone, debt payments amounted to P67.39. billion, a hefty 74 percent decline from P268.41 billion a year ago.

Of that amount, interest and principal payments reached P55.55 billion and P11.84 billion, respectively.

Amid slowing debt servicing, the government also lowered its borrowings in the first quarter, according to the Treasury bureau.

At end-March, the government’s financing fell 21 percent to P1.082 trillion from P1.381 trillion in the same period last year.

However, the government debt load continued to surge, hitting P12.679 trillion as of March 2022, an increase of 4.8 percent or P586.29 billion from P12.093 trillion in the previous month.

The additional debt incurred caused the government’ debt ratio to rise to 63.5 percent as of March from 60.4 percent last year.