The country’s overall balance of payments (BOP) position posted a deficit of US$458 million in October 2018, higher than the US$368 million BOP deficit recorded in the same month last year. Outflows in October 2018 stemmed mainly from payments made by the National Government (NG) for its foreign exchange obligations, NG’s net foreign currency withdrawals and foreign exchange operations of the BSP. These were partially offset, however, by the BSP’s income from its investments abroad.
On a cumulative basis, the BOP registered a deficit of US$5.59 billion during the period January-October 2018. The higher deficit may be attributed partly to the widening merchandise trade deficit (based on the Philippine Statistics Authority’s preliminary data) for the first three quarters of the year. This, in turn, was brought about mainly by the sustained rise in imports of raw materials and intermediate goods as well as capital goods to support domestic economic expansion.
The reported BOP position reflected the final GIR level of US$74.71 billion as of end-October 2018. At this level, the GIR represents a more than ample liquidity buffer and is equivalent to 6.8 months’ worth of imports of goods and payments of services and primary income. It is also equivalent to 5.7 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 3.9 times based on residual maturity.1,2
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.
2 The preliminary data on GIR as of end-September 2018 was released to the public on 7 November 2018. Preliminary data are released every 7th of the month in the Statistics section of the BSP’s website in compliance with the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS). If the 7th day of the month falls on a weekend or is a non-working holiday, the release date shall be the working day before the 7th. Meanwhile, the BOP position and final GIR data are published in the BSP’s website every 19th day of the month. 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.