BSP Governor Rafael B. Buenaventura announced today that the gross international reserves (GIR) as of end-December 1999 reached an all-time high of $15.0 billion, almost 39 percent higher than the end-December 1998 level of $10.8 billion. This was equivalent to 4.3 months of imports of goods and payments of services. The BSP has likewise exceeded the $14.7 billion target level for end-December 1999 under the current IMF standby program.
The build-up in reserves was the result of favorable developments in the balance of payments particularly the rising trade in goods surplus. Likewise, foreign loan availments also contributed to the stock of reserves, the most recent of which is the receipt of the $408 million proceeds from RP’s additional global bond flotation and $149 million representing the national power corporation’s loan from JEXIM for its San Roque project. The favorable developments in the bop led to the BSP’s total net foreign exchange purchases that amounted to almost $3 billion and contributing to the expansion in reserves.
On the other hand, the BSP’s net international reserves for end-December 1999 stood at $11.9 billion. This brought the overall bop surplus for the year to $3.8 billion compared to the year-ago level of $1.4 billion.