The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said its foreign exchange operations as well as the national government’s (NG) foreign debt servicing and expenditures brought the country’s balance of payments (BoP) to a shortfall of $312 million in June.
The result was much lower than the $1.39 billion gap in May, but it was a turnaround of the $80 million surplus in June 2020, according to central bank figures issued on Tuesday.
The BoP is a record of all trade and financial transactions between entities in one country and the rest of the globe over a specific time period. When a country imports more products, services, and capital than it exports, it has a deficit; when it exports more, it has a surplus.
The June deficit was primarily due to “outflows arising from the foreign currency withdrawals of the national government from its deposits with the BSP as the NG settled its foreign currency debt obligations and paid for various expenditures, and the BSP’s net foreign exchange operations,” according to the Bangko Sentral.
“These were partly offset, however, by the inflows from the BSP’s income from its investments abroad,” it emphasized.
The most recent monthly result raised the deficit in the first half of this year to $1.93 billion, reversing a $4.10 billion surplus in the same time of 2020.
“Based on preliminary data, this cumulative BoP deficit was partly attributed to a wider merchandise trade deficit,” the central bank noted.
The Philippine Statistics Authority has reported that the country’s trade deficit increased to $14.18 billion in the first five months of 2021, rising from $9.94 billion the year before.
The BSP anticipates a $7.1 billion surplus in the payments balance position this year, as the current account is projected to remain in surplus, albeit slightly higher than previously expected.
The current account, which is a major component of the BoP, is estimated to post a surplus of $10 billion this year, equivalent to 2.5 percent of domestic output, up from the $9.1-billion forecast previously.
BY MEYNARD DELA CERNA