The country’s Balance of Payments for the first eleven months of 1999 yielded an overall surplus of $3.540 billion, nearly triple the previous year’s $1.192 billion surplus. This was brought about mainly by the surge in the current account surplus.
Bolstered by the continuous growth in exports, trade in goods surplus ballooned in the last four months to bring the cumulative surplus to $4.017 billion compared to a deficit of $488 million recorded a year ago. Merchandise exports reached $32.089 billion during the eleven-month period, a 19.0 percent improvement over the corresponding year-ago level. Electronic products, which registered a 24.7 percent growth, remained the top export earner with a 60.7 percent share of total exports. Machinery and transport equipment also remained in the top list of export performers.
On the other hand, imports of goods picked up by 2.2 percent reaching $28.072 billion pushed by the 7.9 percent expansion in raw materials and intermediate goods. It should also be noted that the increase in the price of crude petroleum in November resulted in the accelerated growth of the value of mineral fuel imports.
Meanwhile, the capital and financial account yielded a net inflow of $703 million with sustained net inflows of medium- and long-term loans, the most recent of which was the release of the $400 million syndicated loan to BSP for reserve management.
Both the current account and the overall BOP surpluses of $6.446 billion and $3.540 billion for January-November 1999 have exceeded the corresponding year-end targets of $1.665 billion and $3.16 billion. Gross international reserves at end-November reached $14.748 billion, $846 million higher than the projected level of $13.902 billion for the same period.