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Slight slide in BSP dollar reserve in January linked to external debt payments




MANILA, Philippines The amount of dollars held in reserve by the central bank fell slightly in the first month of 2021 as the national government withdrew foreign currency to pay off its mature debts, said Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

In a statement, the BSP said the level of the country’s gross international reserves, based on initial data, was set at $ 108.8 billion by the end of January 2021 from a historical value of $ 110.12 billion at the end of December 2020.

The figures, according to the BSP, reflect the national government’s outflows mainly from foreign currency withdrawals from its deposits with the BSP to pay off its foreign currency debt obligations.

He added that the decline was partly due to the revaluation of BSPs gold holdings as a result of a decline in gold prices in the international market.

These outflows were partially offset, however, by inflows from BSP foreign exchange operations and income from its investments abroad, the central bank said.

Despite the downturn, the BSP said the recent level of the dollar reserve represents a sufficient hedge of external liquidity, which could help mitigate the country’s economy to external shocks.

This level is equivalent to about 11.6 months of imports of goods and payment of services and primary income. Alsoshtë also about 9.4 times the short-term external debt of the country based on the original maturity and 5.1 times based on the remaining maturity.

Under the convention, dollar reserves are seen as appropriate if they can finance at least three months in imports of goods into the country and payment of services and primary income.

Residual maturity-based short-term debt refers to outstanding external debt with an initial maturity of one year or less, plus key public and private sector medium- and long-term loans that fall due over the next 12 months.

The level of GIR, as of a certain period, is considered appropriate, if it provides at least 100 percent coverage for the payment of foreign debts of the country, public and private, which fall within an immediate period of twelve months.

Net international reserves referring to the difference between gross BSP reserves and total short-term liabilities decreased by $ 1.33 billion to $ 108.79 billion at the end of January 2021 from the last level of December 2020 of $ 110.12 billion.


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