January debt service payments up 19.71%

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THE government’s debt service bill grew 19.71% year on year in January to P83.81 billion, Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) data show.

In December, the debt service bill was P27.96 billion.

Debt payments in January accounted for 12.28% of the P682.46 billion the government expects to pay this year.

Amortization payments accounted for 48.07% of the total that month, or P40.29 billion, up 27.65% from a year earlier.

External principal settlements fell 95.29% to P1.3 billion, while domestic principal repayments rose sharply to P38.99 billion from P64 million a year earlier.

Interest payments, meanwhile, rose 2.75% year on year to P43.52 billion.

Interest payments to domestic creditors represented about 56.22% of the total, driven by maturing Treasury bills, Treasury bonds, and Retail Treasury bonds.

Foreign interest payments on the other hand fell 9.43% year on year to P19.05 billion.

The government borrows from both local and external sources to tap market liquidity in order to finance projects beyond its budget, with such financing capped at 3% of gross domestic product (GDP). — Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan