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Philippine External Debt Up in 1st Quarter


Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Rafael Buenaventura announced today that the country’s total outstanding external debt approved by/registered with the Bangko Sentral stood at US$55.8 billion as of end-March 2003. This represented a US$1.9 billion or 3.6 percent increase from its end-December 2002 level of US$53.9 billion.

The increase resulted largely from net foreign exchange inflows of US$1.7 billion mainly from public sector accounts, which are usually larger in the early part of the year. (Net loan inflows to the public sector amounted to US$1.3 billion during the first quarter of 2002.) Foreign exchange revaluation adjustments due to a weak US dollar and other adjustments further increased debt stock by US$0.2 billion.

Disbursements on medium and long-term (MLT) accounts amounted to nearly US$1.8 billion of which US$1.5 billion pertained to the public sector mainly to finance the National Government’s general budgetary requirements (46.2 percent), and the power sector’s foreign exchange requirements (12.8 percent). The rest of MLT disbursements to the public sector funded various infrastructure projects.

The maturity profile of outstanding debt remained heavily biased toward MLT accounts (i.e., with maturities longer than one year) which represented 88.5 percent of total. The weighted average maturity of MLT debt continued to improve from 16.5 years last December to 16.6 years in March. Gross International Reserves at US$15,980 million as of end-May represented 2.5 times the level of ST accounts under the original maturity concept and 1.4 times based on the remaining maturity concept.

“The creditor profile of the country’s external debt remained diversified”, the Governor said, “with official creditors (international financial institutions, foreign governments and their agencies) accounting for 45.1 percent of total, followed by foreign holders of bonds and notes representing 28.7 percent, and banks and other financial institutions, 21.2 percent.”

In terms of currency composition, the debt stock remained largely denominated in two major currencies: the U.S. dollar (55 percent) and the Japanese Yen (27 percent). The rest pertained to 16 other currencies with Special Drawing Rights and the Euro each accounting for 4 percent of total.

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