By Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan
THE NATIONAL government’s outstanding debt had a slight decrease in April “due to the stronger peso and third currency fluctuations,” the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) said.
The total unpaid debt was recorded at P6.874 trillion as of April, 0.10% lower than the P6.879 trillion posted as of March.
However, debt was actually 7.9% higher than the P6.37 trillion of end-April 2017.
The current outstanding debt is equivalent to 98.27% of the P6.995-trillion total expected debt by yearend.
Of the overall unpaid obligations, 34.56% or P2.376 trillion is owed to foreign creditors while 65.44% or P4.499 trillion is owed to local sources.
The external debt was 1.5% lower than the P2.413 trillion logged in the previous month, due to the “downward adjustments on both peso and 3rd currency-denominated debt amounting to P23.83 billion and P11.28 billion, respectively, adding to net repayments of P2.15 billion,” according to the BTr.
The domestic debt, meanwhile, was 0.70% higher compared to March’s P4.466 trillion, due to the “P33.34-billion net issuance of government securities tempered by the P0.26 billion effect of the stronger peso.”
BTr said the local currency in April was pegged at P51.734 versus the greenback, from the P52.25 in end-March.
The government borrows from local and foreign sources to fund its budget deficit, which for this year is capped at 3% of the country’s gross domestic product.
This year, it has set a 65-35% borrowing mix in favor of domestic creditors, as it plans to borrow a total of P888.227 billion.
The government also seeks to take advantage of favorable interest rates abroad as it widened the share of debt sourced externally versus the 26% share earlier programmed for this year and 20% in 2017.
The government expects the debt as a share to the economy to decline from 42.6% in the first quarter this year to 38.9% by 2022.