BANKS TOOK OUT more loans from the central bank’s rediscount window in October amid tighter money supply, which followed an aggressive rate hike from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
Peso rediscount loans amounted to P16.553 billion for the month, higher than the P10.599 billion which banks availed in September and leaped from P370 million in short-term credit secured in October 2017.
The BSP’s rediscount window provides lenders with extra cash as they accept bank collectibles from clients as collateral. The banks may use the fresh money supply, which may be denominated in peso, dollar or yen, to grant more loans for corporate or retail clients as well as service unexpected withdrawals.
October’s rediscount loans brought the year-to-date tally to P47.176 billion, jumping from the P973 million granted during the comparable 10-month period last year.
In a statement, the BSP said more than half of the loans funded capital asset spending while a fifth went into other services. Commercial credits accounted for 16.3% of the total, while roughly a tenth of the rediscount loan lines was channelled for permanent working capital.
A modest portion of the loans was extended for production and housing, data showed.
BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi G. Fonacier said market players are likely tapping the facility as they avoid long-term loans amid market volatility, coupled with a wait-and-see stance as to whether the central bank will raise rates further.
“They’re saying (liquidity) is tight,” Ms. Fonacier told reporters when sought for comment. “For them when they try to service the client requirements…given the movements of rates, they would rather have it short term.”
The bigger availments came at the heels of a fresh rate hike from the central bank as policy makers raised benchmark yields by another 50 basis points (bp) during their Sept. 27 meeting. This matched an equally aggressive move back in August, which was the BSP’s response to surging inflation.
Benchmark yields now range 4-5%, with the key policy rate at a nine-year high of 4.5%.
In turn, this also pushed rediscount rates higher to 5.0625% for loans maturing in 90 days and below, while those with a 91 to 180-day term came with a 5.125% tag since Oct. 1.
The Monetary Board will hold their seventh rate-setting meeting on Thursday. Economists tapped in a BusinessWorld poll were divided as to whether the central bank will raise rates for the fifth consecutive meeting — but by a modest 25-bp hike — or if policy makers can stay on hold as inflation is seen easing.
Meanwhile, rediscount windows for dollar and yen loans — which are meant to service the needs of exporters — remained untapped as of October.
For this month, rates for dollar borrowings surged anew to 4.5585% for one to 90-day loans; 4.621% for 91- to 180-day loans; and 4.6835% for 181- to 360-day loans, the BSP said yesterday.
On the other hand, yields on yen-denominated loans slipped to 1.91367% for one to 90-day loans, 1.97617% for 91- to 180-day loans, and 2.03867% for 181- to 360-day loans. These are the interest rates levied by the BSP to banks securing short-term credit lines. — Melissa Luz T. Lopez