Preliminary data showed that the country’s gross international reserves (GIR) rose to US$82.13 billion as of end-January 2019, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Nestor A. Espenilla, Jr. announced today.1 This level is higher than the US$79.19 billion level recorded in December 2018 due mainly to inflows arising from the 1) net foreign currency deposits by the National Government (NG), 2) BSP’s foreign exchange operations, 3) revaluation gains from BSP’s gold holdings resulting from the increase in the price of gold in the international market, and 4) the BSP’s income from its investments abroad. However, the increase in reserves was partially tempered by payments made by the NG for servicing its foreign exchange obligations.
The end-January 2019 level of GIR continues to serve as an ample external liquidity buffer and is equivalent to 7.2 months’ worth of imports of goods and payments of services and primary income. It is also equivalent to 6.2 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 4.2 times based on residual maturity.2
Net international reserves (NIR), which refer to the difference between the BSP’s GIR and total short-term liabilities, likewise increased by US$2.94 billion to US$82.13 billion as of end-January 2019 from the end-December 2018 level of US$79.19 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 Standard (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.