Preliminary data showed that the country’s gross international reserves (GIR) level as of end-January 2018 slid marginally to US$81.2 billion from the end-December 2017 GIR of US$81.6 billion, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Nestor A. Espenilla, Jr. announced today.1 At this level, the GIR represents more than ample liquidity buffer and is equivalent to 8.2 months’ worth of imports of goods and payments of services and primary income. It is also equivalent to 5.8 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 4.2 times based on residual maturity.2
The month-on-month marginal decline in the GIR level was due mainly to outflows arising from the foreign exchange operations of the BSP and payments made by the National Government (NG) for its maturing foreign exchange obligations. These were partially tempered by the NG’s net foreign currency deposits, revaluation adjustments on the BSP’s gold holdings resulting from the increase in the price of gold in the international market as well as its income from investments abroad.
Net international reserves (NIR), which refer to the difference between the BSP’s GIR and total short-term liabilities, decreased by US$0.4 billion to US$81.2 billion as of end-January 2018 from the end-December 2017 NIR of US$81.6 billion.
1 The final data on GIR are released to the public every 19th day of the month in the Statistics section of the BSP’s website under the Special Data Dissemination Standards (SDDS). If the 19th day of the month falls on a weekend or is a non-working holiday, the release date shall be the working day nearest to the 19th.
2 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.