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Forex reserves back to $100-B level at end-March

Philippine dollar reserves returned to the $100 billion level in March as the national government hiked its net foreign currency deposits, data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Wednesday showed.
The gross international reserves (GIR) grew to $100.215 billion in March from $98.216 billion in February. However, it was lower than the $107.801 billion posted in March 2022.
The GIR is a measure of the ability to settle import payments and service foreign debt, which the central bank projects at $93 billion by the end of the year.
“The month-on-month increase in the GIR level reflected mainly the national government’s net foreign currency deposits with the BSP, the upward revaluation of the BSP’s gold holdings due to the increase in the price of gold in the international market, and net income from the BSP’s investments abroad,” the central bank said.
Data showed that the BSP’s gold holdings increased to $10.073 billion from $9.330 billion in February as prices in the international market increased. Foreign investments jumped to $84.142 billion from $83.828 billion.
The BSP said the latest GIR level indicated a “more than adequate” external liquidity buffer, equivalent to 7.5 months’ worth of imports of goods and payments of services and primary income.
It is also six times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 4.2 times based on residual maturity.
The latest data available from the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) showed that the government’s running debt balance surged to a fresh record high of P13.75 trillion in February, up 0.4% from P13.7 trillion in January.
The net international reserves—the difference between the GIR and reserve liabilities—increased by $2.0 billion to $100.2 billion from $98.2 billion in February. —VBL, GMA Integrated News