OUTSTANDING DEBT rose by 1.4% to P8.6 trillion as of end-April, as the government issued more domestic securities and obtained additional foreign loans to fund its coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) response, the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) said on Tuesday.

In a statement, the BTr said the national government’s total debt stock stood at P8.6 trillion as of end-April, up from P8.48 trillion as of end-March and 10.4% higher than P7.79 trillion logged a year ago.

Of the outstanding debt, the bulk or 68% was sourced domestically, while the remaining 32% was from foreign creditors.

Domestic debt inched up 0.9% to P5.86 trillion as of end-April, from P5.81 trillion as of end-March. It was also 12.6% higher than P5.21 trillion seen in April last year.

The increase was largely due to the issuance of government bonds which rose 0.9% month on month to P5.56 trillion.

“The end-March figure was subsequently adjusted to reflect the P300 billion short-term borrowing through the repurchase agreement with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP),” BTr said in a statement Tuesday.

In late-March, the central bank bought P300 billion in three-month government securities from the BTr to boost state coffers for efforts to contain the fallout from the pandemic.

The BTr said to date, domestic debt rose by P735.92 billion or 14.4% since the start of the year “as a result of net debt issuance and the short-term borrowing from BSP.”

Meanwhile, outstanding external debt jumped 2.7% to P2.74 trillion as of end-April from P2.66 trillion the month prior, and 16.4% higher than P2.58 trillion recorded in April 2019.

“For April, net availment of external loans amounted to P87.34 billion as part of the government’s effort to raise concessional financing to address the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic,” BTr said.

In April, Manila-based multilateral lender Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved a total of $1.7-trillion loans to support Philippine government’s COVID-19 response. World Bank also approved $600 billion in loans for the Philippines.

Meanwhile, the outstanding external debt securities that month slightly declined by 0.6% to P1.595 trillion that month from P1.61 trillion in March.

“Currency adjustments trimmed P15.1 billion, particularly through local currency appreciation,” it explained.

To date, the national government’s external debt went up by 5.1% to P133.10 billion.

The national government’s guaranteed debt declined 0.9% month on month to P477.68 billion as of end-April, from P481.82 billion as of end-March.

“The lower level of guarantees was due to the net redemption of both local and foreign guarantees amounting to P3.24 billion and P0.10 billion, respectively. This was further trimmed by currency adjustments which reduced the value of external guarantees by P800 million,” the BTr said.

Of which, domestic guaranteed debt made up 53% of the total or P251.59 billion, while external guaranteed debt accounts for 47% or P226.09 billion. — B.M. Laforga