The Philippines’ outstanding external debt approved/registered by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas stood at US$55.3 billion as of end March 2005. The amount reflected an increase of US$0.5 billion or 0.92 percent from the US$54.8 billion level recorded in December 2004. On an annual basis, however, external debt declined by nearly US$1.4 billion or 2.4 percent from the US$56.7 billion level as of end-March 2004.
The debt stock remained heavily biased towards medium to long-term (MLT) accounts which accounted for over 90 percent of total. These loans, with original maturities of more than one year, had a weighted average maturity of 17.7 years. Public sector borrowings had a longer average maturity of 20 years compared to the private sector’s 10.9 years.
Compared with the latest debt level, the gross international reserves level of US$17.3 billion as of end-May 2005, represented 3.1 times the level of short-term accounts under the original maturity concept, and more than 1.7 times based on the remaining maturity concept.
Public sector accounts slightly declined from 69.1 percent to 68.6 percent, while the share of the private sector correspondingly increased from 30.9 percent to 31.4 percent.
The creditor profile remained well diversified, with official creditors accounting for 44 percent of total, foreign holders of bonds and notes, 30.9 percent and banks and other financial institutions, 20.3 percent.
During the first quarter, gross disbursements on MLT accounts amounted to nearly US$2.5 billion. Public sector transactions, which represented 82.3 percent of total, funded the Government’s budgetary gap as well as various social and infrastructure projects. The balance pertained to private sector accounts, with banks’ borrowings accounting for 59.2 percent.
Loan availments by both public and private sector borrowers exceeded payments, resulting in net inflows of US$1.3 billion. These were, however, partially offset by downward foreign exchange revaluation adjustments of almost US$1 billion in March resulting from the strengthening of the U.S. dollar against other major currencies in which the debt stock is denominated, such as the Japanese Yen and the Euro.