GROSS BORROWINGS by the National Government reached P2.78 trillion as of end-November as it continued to source funding for the pandemic response, preliminary data from the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) showed. 

In the first eleven months of 2021, gross borrowings declined by 8.9% from the P3.05 trillion raised in the same period in 2020.

In November alone, the Treasury borrowed P26.7 billion, down by 81.7% from the October figure.

Local borrowings, which accounted for the bulk of the total, stood at P16.6 billion, plunging by 87.6% compared with the P133.73 billion logged a month earlier.

There were a net redemption of Treasury bills worth P53.4 billion in November, while a total of P70 billion in Treasury bonds were sold.

The government logged P16.5 billion in net local borrowings after making P98 million in amortization payments.

Meanwhile, gross foreign borrowings reached P10.1 billion in November, slipping by 16.2% from the P12.05 billion a month earlier.

The November total consisted entirely of project loans, recording no foreign program loans.

With P6.95 billion in amortization payments, the government recorded P3.15 billion in net external borrowings.

For the 11-month period, gross domestic borrowings hit P2.25 trillion, or 8.83% lower than a year earlier.

Broken down, local borrowings consisted of P1.26 trillion in T-bonds, P463.32 billion in retail treasury bonds, and P540 billion in short-term borrowings from the central bank. The government also recorded the P97.33-billion redemption in T-bills.

Net local borrowings reached P2.19 trillion after the Treasury paid P53.58 billion in maturing obligations.

Meanwhile, gross external borrowings in the 11-month period reached a total of P528.8 billion, down by 9.39% from the same period a year earlier.

Broken down, the bureau raised P146.17 billion from global bonds, P121.97 billion from euro-denominated notes, and P24.19 billion in Japanese yen-denominated securities.

It also recorded P139.98 billion in program loans along with P96.5 billion in project loans.

The government repaid P230.88 billion of its outstanding foreign debt, resulting in P297.9 billion in net external borrowings.

The government borrows from local and foreign sources to plug a budget deficit seen to hit 9.3% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2021.

Economic managers are planning to scale down borrowings starting this year as part of its debt consolidation plan.

Fitch Ratings earlier warned that rising levels of public debt could lead to a credit rating downgrade for the Philippines in the next few years. — J.P. Ibañez