The country’s overall balance of payments (BOP) position posted a surplus of US$163 million in October 2019, a reversal from the US$458 million BOP deficit recorded in the same month last year. Inflows in October 2019 reflected the increase in the National Government’s (NG) net foreign currency deposits and BSP’s income from its investments abroad. These inflows were offset, however, by outflows representing payments made by the NG on its foreign exchange obligations during the month in review.
On a cumulative basis, the BOP position for the period January – October 2019 posted a surplus of US$5.73 billion, a turnaround from the US$5.59 billion BOP deficit recorded in the first ten months of 2018. The surplus may be attributed partly to personal remittance inflows from overseas Filipinos and net inflows of foreign direct investments.
The BOP position reflects the final gross international reserves (GIR) level of US$85.83 billion as of end-October 2019. At this level, the GIR represents a more-than-ample liquidity buffer equivalent to 7.5 months’ worth of imports of goods and payments of services and primary income. It is also equivalent to 5.5 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 4.1 times based on residual maturity. 1,2
1Short-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.
2The preliminary data on GIR as of end-October 2019 was released to the public on 7 November 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.