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January-September BOP Yields $3.356 Billion Surplus

12.17.1999

The country’s Balance of Payments (BOP) for January-September 1999 yielded an overall surplus of $3.356 billion, more than twofold that of the year- ago’s level of $1.581 billion and equivalent to 5.8 percent of the Gross National Product (GNP) during the period. This surplus was realized mainly on account of the substantial gains in the current account. The capital and financial account likewise netted gains, much higher than last year’s level.

Trade in goods registered a $2.449 billion surplus, a reversal of last year’s $826 million deficit. Imports of goods picked up by 1.9 percent, pushed by the last four consecutive months of positive growth while exports continued to surge at 17.0 percent. The monthly trade in goods surplus was at its peak in September – at $1.144 billion, a record high since the financial crisis in 1997 – as exports expanded by more than 32 percent during the month.

For the nine-month period, merchandise exports reached $25.557 billion. Electronic products, accounting for 60.4 percent share of total exports, continued to pull the overall growth with a 23.7 percent expansion. Exports of machinery and transport equipment likewise remained a leading export gainer.

On the other hand, brighter macroeconomic prospects contributed to the resurgence of imports, which totaled $23.108 billion during the period January- September 1999. In particular, merchandise imports grew by 3.8 percent in September due mainly to higher imports of raw materials and intermediate goods. 

Meanwhile, the capital and financial account yielded a net inflow of $2.395 billion, with sustained net inflows of medium-and long-term loans. Likewise, portfolio investments by non-residents registered a net inflow of $492 million.

Both the actual current account and overall bop surpluses of $4.646 billion and $3.356 billion for January-September 1999, have already exceeded the corresponding year-end targets of $1.665 billion and $3.16 billion. Gross International Reserves at end-September 1999 reached $14.575 billion, $1.050 billion higher than the projected level of  $13.525 billion for the period. 

Meanwhile, the BOP statistics for the first three months of 2000 will be published in two formats; namely, the current presentation and the format recommended by the international monetary fund (IMF) as the international standard. The parallel run is intended to acquaint the final users of the IMF format  which would eventually replace the current format starting with the April 2000 BOP. 

The IMF format, unlit the present systems, includes an "income" sub-account in the current account. This is presently lumped with the services group.  

Moreover, in the capital account, the IMF format distinguishes transactions in foreign assets from those in foreign liabilities while classifying transactors into main resident institutions such as monetary authorities, banks, general government and others. Most important, the IMF format attributes the change in reserves purely to economic transactions excluding the effects of revaluation, gold monetization and SDR allocation. These three accounts as "others" are still considered under the present system. 

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