The country’s gross international reserves (GIR) level rose to a record-high of US$45.0 billion as of end-December 2009, higher by US$0.8 billion than the previous month’s level of US$44.2 billion, and by US$7.4 billion than the end-2008 GIR of US$37.6 billion, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. announced today.
The substantial accumulation of reserves over the 12-month period was due mainly to inflows from the net foreign exchange operations of the BSP and income from its investments abroad, deposits by the National Government (NG) and the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) of proceeds from their bond issues and other foreign borrowings, as well as revaluation gains on the BSP’s gold holdings on account of the increase in the price of gold in the international market during the year. Also contributing to the higher year-end GIR level were the allocations of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) which were made available by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to its member countries, including the Philippines, in August and September 2009 to boost reserves and provide liquidity to the global financial system. These receipts were in turn offset by outflows arising mainly from payments of maturing foreign currency-denominated obligations of the NG and the BSP.
The preliminary end-December 2009 GIR level could cover 9.1 months of imports of goods and payments of services and income. The year-end level was also equivalent to 9.5 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 4.2 times based on residual maturity.1
Net international reserves (NIR), which include revaluation of reserve assets and reserve-related liabilities, likewise rose to US$45.0 billion as of end-December 2009, US$9.0 billion higher than the end-2008 NIR level of US$36.0 billion. NIR refers to the difference between the BSP’s GIR and total short-term liabilities.
1 Short-term debt based on residual maturity refers to outstanding external debt with original maturity of one year or less, plus principal payments on medium- and long-term loans of the public and private sectors falling due within the next 12 months.