Preliminary data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed that the country’s gross international reserves (GIR) as of end-December 2010 posted an all-time high level of US$62.1 billion, higher by US$17.9 billion compared to the end-December 2009 GIR of US$44.2 billion, and by US$1.5 billion vis-à-vis the previous month’s level of US$60.6 billion, BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. announced today.
The appreciable year-on-year build-up in the reserves level was due to inflows from the BSP’s foreign exchange operations, income from investments abroad, and revaluation gains on its gold and foreign currency-denominated holdings. These inflows were partially offset, however, by payments for maturing foreign exchange obligations of the National Government (NG) and the BSP, as well as net foreign currency withdrawals by authorized agent banks and the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM).
Reserve assets accumulated over the 12-month period stemmed mainly from sustained foreign exchange inflows from merchandise exports, services receipts, overseas Filipinos’ remittances, and direct and portfolio investments. The preliminary end-December 2010 GIR climbed to a level that could cover 10.2 months worth of imports of goods and payments of services and income. It was also equivalent to 10.8 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 5.7 times based on residual maturity.1
Net international reserves (NIR), which include revaluation of reserve assets and reserve-related liabilities, likewise rose to US$62.0 billion as of end-December 2010, compared to the year-ago level of US$44.2 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.