THE GOVERNMENT increased its borrowing program for the domestic bond market to P170 billion in April to take advantage of the abundant liquidity.

The Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) is set to borrow P100 billion during weekly offering of Treasury bills (T-bills) and another P70 billion via fortnightly auctions of Treasury bonds (T-bonds), based on an advisory posted on its website on Monday.

The P170-billion latest borrowing program is higher than the P160-billion target in March, but still lower than the P190-billion planned borrowings in April 2020 — one year since the Treasury shifted to a monthly auction schedule from the previous quarterly program amid the coronavirus pandemic.

National Treasurer Rosalia V. de Leon said the government increased the program to “take advantage of good liquidity conditions.”

The BTr raised the volume of T-bills to be offered every Monday to P25 billion from the previous P20 billion.

It will now auction off P5 billion in 91-day papers, P8 billion in 182-day debt and P12 billion in 364-day securities.

The initial program for T-bonds was raised to P35 billion from P30 billion previously, but shortened the tenors.

The Treasury is set to raise P35 billion in five-year bonds on April 6, and another P35 billion via the seven-year notes on April 20.

The BTr raised P169 billion from the domestic bond market so far this month, excluding the results of the tap auction on Monday.

The actual debt was higher than the programmed P160 billion after it opened the tap facility for T-bills twice and upsized the volume of bills accepted on Monday when rates fell across the board. This was composed of P109 billion in T-bills and P60 billion in T-bonds.

The government is looking to borrow P3 trillion this year from domestic and external lenders to help fund its budget deficit seen to hit 8.9% of gross domestic product. — Beatrice M. Laforga