The country’s overall balance of payments (BOP) position yielded a surplus of US$467 million in February 2019, a reversal of the US$429 million BOP deficit recorded in the same month last year. Inflows in February 2019 stemmed mainly from the BSP’s foreign exchange operations, National Government’s (NG) net foreign currency deposits, and BSP’s income from its investments abroad. These were partially offset, however, by the payments made by the NG for its foreign exchange obligations during the month in review.
On a cumulative basis, the BOP position for the period January – February 2019 posted a surplus of US$3.17 billion, a turnaround from the US$961 million BOP deficit recorded in the first two months of 2018. The surplus may be attributed partly to remittance inflows from overseas Filipinos in January 2019 and net inflows of foreign portfolio investments (net BSP-registered transactions based on custodian banks’ reports) for the first two months of the year, which was a reversal of the net outflows reported in January – February 2018.
The reported BOP position reflected the final gross international reserves (GIR) level of US$82.78 billion as of end-February 2019. At this level, the GIR represents a more than ample liquidity buffer and is equivalent to 7.3 months’ worth of imports of goods and payments of services and primary income. It is also equivalent to 5.2 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 3.6 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-February 2019 was released to the public on 7 March 2019. 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.