THE COUNTRY’S gross international reserves (GIR) grew in August on the back of net foreign currency deposits of the government and income from the central bank’s external investments, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said on Friday.
Preliminary data released by the BSP showed the country’s reserves climbed to $77.829 billion as of August from $76.722 billion at end-July. This is the highest GIR level since May’s $79.202 billion.
Still, this is lower than the $81.73 billion seen as of August 2017.
The BSP attributed the increase from the previous month to “inflows arising from the National Government’s (NG) net foreign currency deposits as well as the BSP’s income from its investments abroad.”
“These were partially tempered by payments made by the NG for its foreign exchange obligations, foreign exchange operations of the BSP, and revaluation adjustments on the BSP’s gold holdings resulting from the decrease in the price of old in the international market,” it added.
The central bank’s income from offshore investments went up to $61.687 billion as of August from $60.736 billion in the previous month, but was still lower than the $67.086 billion logged a year ago.
Its foreign currency holdings likewise climbed to $6.838 billion from $6.516 billion in July and the $4.558 billion as of August last year.
Meanwhile, the central bank’s gold holdings slid to $7.622 billion last month from $7.788 billion as of July and the $8.431 billion recorded a year ago.
Reserves held under the International Monetary Fund (IMF) also dipped to $487.3 million last month from $488.4 million in July and $449.2 million in August 2017.
Special drawing rights, or the amount which the Philippines can tap under the IMF’s reserve currency basket, was steady at $1.194 billion from $1.193 billion in July, but lower than the $1.201 billion a year ago.
The BSP said the country’s end-August reserves level “remains as an adequate external liquidity buffer,” with an equivalent of 7.5 months import cover, as well as payments on services and primary income.
It is also equivalent to 6.2 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 4.2 times based on residual maturity. — Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan