GROSS international reserves (GIR) — which shield the country from liquidity shocks — strengthened to a record high by end-September, as the national government’s bigger foreign currency deposits offset NG payments for servicing foreign exchange obligations, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said on Monday, citing preliminary data.
GIR totaled some $86.163 billion as of September, edging up by 0.15% from end-August’s $86.031 billion and 15% bigger than the year-ago $74.939 billion.
It was the biggest amount on record.
The gold reserves component of the GIR steadied at $8.016 billion from end-August but was bigger than the year-ago $7.577 billion, while gains from the BSP’s investments abroad — which accounted for bulk of reserves — slipped to $73.44 billion from end-August’s $73.522 billion but were still bigger than the $59.851 billion recorded the past year.
Foreign currency deposits grew to $2.978 billion from end-August’s $2.761 billion but were down from the year-ago $5.842 billion.
Reserves with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) slipped to $561.4 million from end-August’s $563.3 million but were still bigger than the $483.4 million recorded a year ago.
Special drawing rights — or the amount which the Philippines can tap from the IMF’s reserve currency basket — steadied at $1.168 billion from end-August but slipped from the year-ago $1.186 billion.
The end-September GIR was equivalent to 7.5 months worth of imports of goods and payment of services and primary income, the BSP said in a press release accompanying the data.
It was also equivalent to 5.4 times external debt falling due within 12 months and 3.9 times such short-term debt plus principal payments on medium- and long-term loans of the public and private sectors falling due within 12 months.
Net international reserves, which refer to the difference between the BSP’s GIR and total short-term liabilities, increased by $130 million to $86.15 billion as of end-September from end-August’s $86.02 billion. — L. W. T. Noble