Gross international reserves lowest in 3 months at end-June


The country’s gross international reserves (GIR) fell to a three-month low of $106.08 billion at the end of June due to falling gold prices, debt payment and other government expenses, and foreign exchange operations by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).


According to preliminary data issued by the central bank on Tuesday, the amount was 1.09 percent smaller than at the end of May, but 13.49 percent wider than the $93.46 billion reported a year ago.


The figure at the end of June was the lowest since the end of March this year, when it was $104.48 billion.


“The month-on-month decrease in the GIR level was mainly attributed to the downward adjustment in the value of the BSP’s gold holdings due to the decrease in the price of gold in the international market, foreign currency withdrawals of the national government from its deposits with the BSP to pay its foreign currency debt obligations and various expenditures, and BSP’s foreign exchange operations,” the Bangko Sentral explained.


Outflows were more than offset by inflows from the central bank’s revenue from overseas investments.


The BSP said, the new dollar-reserves amount “represents a more than adequate external liquidity buffer.”


It also covers 12.1 months of imports, up from 9.3 months a year ago; 7.8 times the country’s short-term foreign debt based on original maturity; and 5.2 times the country’s short-term external debt based on residual maturity.


At the end of June, the difference between GIR and total short-term liabilities, termed as net international reserves, was $106.08 billion, plunging from $107.23 billion a month ago.


This year, the Bangko Sentral anticipates these reserves to rise to $115 billion. This corresponds to 11.9 months of import cover thanks to current and financial account inflows.


“The revised GIR forecast is $1 billion higher than the March 2021 projection of $114 billion due to revaluation adjustments and projected sustained foreign borrowings by the national government in response to the Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic as well as to aggressively fund recovery-supportive infrastructure,” the central bank pointed out.


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