Gov’t borrowing rises 21% in January

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THE GOVERNMENT borrowed over 21% more in January year on year as it became a net issuer of Treasury bills (T-bills), after maintaining a net redemption position previously, data from the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) show.

The national government borrowed P47.66 billion in January, up from P39.13 billion a year earlier. The total was down 79.92% from December’s P237.36 billion.

The January total is equivalent to 5.37% of the P888.23 billion the government plans to borrow this year.

The rise in gross borrowing was led by the 45% rise in domestic borrowing to P27.68 billion — accounting for 58.08% of the financing portfolio — which more than offset a net 0.30% decline in external borrowing to P19.98 billion.

Short-dated T-bills in January reversed to a net issuing position of P12.79 billion from a P10.91 billion net redemption position a year earlier.

Fixed-rate Treasury bonds, meanwhile, halved to P14.89 billion.

Program loans from foreign sources fell 15.85% to P15.11 billion, while project loans doubled to P4.86 billion.

Borrowed funds are intended to pay for government projects and maturing debt, among others, whose costs exceed the government budget, amid plans to drastically raise spending, particularly on infrastructure. The deficit, however, is pegged at 3% of gross domestic product (GDP).

This year, the government has adopted a 74-26% financing mix in favor of local sources at P711.96 billion, with P176.27 billion planned for gross foreign borrowing. — Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan