The country’s overall balance of payments (BOP) position yielded a surplus of US$847 million in November 2018, a reversal from the US$44 million deficit recorded in the same month last year. Inflows in November 2018 stemmed mainly from the BSP’s foreign exchange operations and its income from its investments abroad during the month. These were partially offset, however, by the payments made by the National Government (NG) for its foreign exchange obligations and its net foreign currency withdrawals during the month in review.
Notwithstanding the surplus posted in November, the cumulative BOP position for the period January-November 2018 registered a deficit of US$4.75 billion, higher than the US$1.78 billion BOP deficit recorded in the comparable period in 2017. The higher cumulative BOP deficit for the period may be attributed partly to the widening merchandise trade deficit (based on the Philippine Statistics Authority’s preliminary data) for the first ten months of the year that was brought about 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$75.68 billion as of end-November 2018. At this level, the GIR represents a more than ample liquidity buffer and is equivalent to 6.7 months’ worth of imports of goods and payments of services and primary income. It is also equivalent to 5.6 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 December 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.