The country’s balance of payments (BOP) for January – April 2000 yielded an overall surplus of $803 million. The current account surplus at $1.8 billion remained robust due largely to the 65 percent improvement in the trade in goods balance. Meanwhile, the capital and financial account also continued to be in surplus, although this was lower than the year-ago level.
Exports of goods grew by 11.2 percent during the first four months of the year due largely to higher exports of machinery and transport equipment, including computer peripherals, as well as garments and electronics. Exports have become more diversified, with the shares of machinery and transport equipment and garments to total exports on the rise. Reflecting renewed economic activity, imports likewise expanded by 7.8 percent following increased purchases of telecommunication equipment and electrical machinery parts. The hike in the price of crude petroleum also contributed to the increase in the value of imports.
The capital and financial account yielded a surplus of $287 million during the period, due mainly to the increase in non-residents’ investment in debt securities following the flotation of bonds by the government in March. Direct investments in a local telecommunication firm also contributed to the capital and financial account surplus.
These developments in the BOP resulted in higher gross international reserves, amounting to $15.8 billion as of end-April 2000, equivalent to 4.75 months of import of goods, services, and income.
Relative to their respective program levels, the current account surplus of $1.8 billion over performed by $1.6 billion while the capital and financial account was lower by $1.1 billion. the program overall bop level of $383 million was exceeded by the actual January - April overall bop surplus amounting to $803 million. Foreign reserves level, on the other hand, at $15.8 billion was only $300 million short of the year-end target of $16.1 billion.