Preliminary data shows that the country’s gross international reserves (GIR) rose by US$1.63 billion to US$87.86 billion as of end-December 2019 from US$86.23 billion as of end-November 2019.1 The month-on-month increase in the GIR level reflects the inflows arising from the BSP’s foreign exchange operations and income from its investments abroad, and the National Government’s (NG) net foreign currency deposits. These inflows were offset partly, however, by outflows representing payments made by the NG on its foreign exchange obligations during the month in review.
The end-December 2019 level of the GIR provides an ample external liquidity buffer that is equivalent to 7.7 months’ worth of imports of goods and services and payments of primary income. It is also equivalent to 5.5 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 4.3 times based on residual maturity.2
Net international reserves (NIR), which refers to the difference between the BSP’s GIR and total short-term liabilities, likewise increased by US$1.62 billion to US$87.83 billion as of end-December 2019 from the end-November 2019 level of US$86.21 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 Standards (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.