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Outstanding Philippine External Debt Drops by US$2.1 Billion in March


Bangko Sentral Governor Rafael B. Buenaventura reported today that as of end- March 2001, the country’s outstanding external debt approved by/registered with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas stood at US$49.949 billion, down by 4 percent (or US$2,111 million) from the end-2000 level of US$52.060 billion.

The decline resulted from net repayments (excess of repayments over availments) of both the public (non-banks) and private sectors (US$133 million and US$21 million, respectively), decrease in liabilities (US$849 million) reported by commercial banks, and negative revaluation adjustments (US$1,380 million) arising largely from the continued weakening of the Japanese Yen against the US Dollar (from JPY114.46 in December to JPY123.69 by end-March).

The maturity profile of outstanding debt remained favorable, with medium and long-term accounts constituting the bulk (89.6 percent) of the total and the weighted average maturity of these accounts at about 17 years. The country’s external position likewise remained comfortable with Gross International Reserves equivalent to more than 2-1/2 times the level of outstanding short-term accounts.

Obligations of the public sector (consisting of the National Government,  government-owned and controlled corporations, Bangko Sentral and other government financial institutions) represented about two-thirds of total external debt, with the private sector accounting for the balance.

Almost half (48 percent) of outstanding external debt was owed to official creditors (foreign governments and their export credit agencies as well as international financial institutions like the World Bank and Asian Development Bank) and thus, generally carry softer terms than other types of financing. More than a quarter (25.7 percent) of debt stock was in the form of debt securities (such as bonds and notes) that are generally traded in offshore capital markets. Obligations to private banks and other foreign financial institutions constituted a little over one-fifth (21.9 percent) of outstanding debt.

The currency mix was essentially the same, with the bulk of debt stock denominated in two major currencies namely, the US Dollar (56.0 percent) and the Japanese Yen (26.0 percent); the rest are denominated in 23 other currencies.

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