BSP Governor Rafael B. Buenaventura announced today that the gross international reserves (GIR) as of end-October stood at $14.6 billion, about 35 percent higher than the end-December 1998 level of $10.8 billion. This was equivalent to 4.2 months of import of goods and payments of services.
The build-up in reserves can be attributed to the favorable developments in the balance of payments particularly the robust trade in goods, investment and loan inflows. These allowed the BSP to purchase foreign exchange particularly during the first half of 1999. Foreign borrowings also boosted the GIR. For the national government, the most recent inflow was the $282 million net proceeds from the 25-year RP global bond offering in October.
These developments brought the net international reserves to $11.4 billion, and the overall balance of payments position to $3.4 billion for the first ten months of 1999 compared to the year-ago level of $1.4 billion.
At $14.6 billion, the country is short of only $100 million relative to the target GIR level of $14.7 billion at the end of 1999. The current reserve level is also more than twice the country’s short-term foreign exchange liabilities, which stood at $6.5 billion as of end-June 1999.