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Payments position hits $1.267-B surplus in March

The Philippines’ balance of payments (BOP) went back to a surplus in March to reflect the inflows from the national government’s foreign currency loans, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported Wednesday.
Data released by the central bank showed that the BOP level was a $1.267-billion surplus in March, following the $895-million deficit in February and the $754-million surplus the same month last year.
The BOP consists of Philippine transactions with the rest of the world during a specific period. A surplus means more funds entered the country, while a deficit means more funds left.
“The BOP surplus in March 2023 reflected inflows arising mainly from the national government’s net foreign currency loans, which were deposited with the BSP, and net income from the BSP’s investments abroad,” the BSP said in an accompanying statement.
The Philippine government recorded an outstanding debt of P13.75 trillion as of the end of February, reflecting a 0.4% increase from P13.7 trillion the previous month.
The year-to-date BOP level stood at a $3.453-billion surplus, higher than the $495-million surplus in the comparable period of 2022.
“Based on preliminary data, the cumulative BOP surplus reflected inflows that stemmed mainly from personal remittances, net foreign borrowings by the NG, and foreign direct investments,” the BSP said.
The central bank has yet to release remittance data for March, but the latest figures show that personal remittances fell to $2.860 billion in February from $3.071 billion in January.
Meanwhile, foreign direct investments (FDIs) dropped to a 20-month low of $448 million in January, or 45.7% lower than the $824 million in January 2022.
The gross international reserves (GIR) level increased to $101.5 billion as of end-March from $98.2 billion as of end-February, equivalent to 7.6 months’ worth of imports of goods and payments of services and primary income.
It is also about 6.1 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 4.2 times based on residual maturity.  —VBL, GMA Integrated News