External transactions continued to showcase the country’s steady march through recovery and toward sustainable growth. For January-October 1999, the country’s Balance of Payments yielded an overall surplus of $3.387 billion, more than twice previous year’s $1.447 billion surplus. This was brought about mainly by the surge in the current account surplus.
As exports outpaced imports, trade in goods registered a $3.296 billion surplus, a reversal of last year’s $701 million deficit. Merchandise exports reached $29.017 billion during the ten-month period, a 19.0 percent improvement over the corresponding year-ago level. Electronic products, which registered a 25.6 percent growth, remained the top export earner with a 60.9 percent share of total exports. Likewise, machinery and transport equipment remained a leading export gainer.
On the other hand, imports of goods picked up by 2.5 percent highlighted by a streak of positive growth in the last five months. Imports of goods reached $25.721 billion due mainly to higher imports of raw materials and intermediate goods confirming the resurgence of domestic production.
Trade in goods continued to show strength, with the merchandise trade surplus reaching $846 million in October. In October alone, exports grew by 36.1 percent year-on-year while imports rose by 8.1 percent.
Meanwhile, the capital and financial account yielded a net inflow of $1.719 billion with sustained net inflows of medium- and long-term loans. The national government successfully launched the $1 billion global bond in October in addition to its previous bonds and notes issues totaling $2.2 billion. This last issue financed the retirement of $714 million Brady bonds. More than the gains in terms of savings and maturity restructuring, this exchange released the country from a collateral-backed and debt crisis-associated instrument, thus helping raise the country’s credit worthiness.
Both the current account and the overall BOP surpluses of $5.554 billion and $1.719 billion for January October 1999 have exceeded the corresponding year-end targets of $1.665 billion and $3.16 billion. Gross international reserves at end-October reached $14.614 billion, $1.022 billion higher than the projected level of $13.592 billion for the same period.