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Outstanding Philippine External Debt Rises Slightly in September, Remains Manageable

01.04.2002

Bangko Sentral Governor Rafael B. Buenaventura announced today that as of end-September 2001, the country’s outstanding external debt approved by/registered with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) stood at US$52.426 billion, up by 3 percent (or US$1.53 billion) from the end-June level of US$50.895 billion.

The increase in debt stock resulted largely from upward revaluation adjustments (US$904 million) of liabilities denominated in third currencies (or non-US dollar credits), which appreciated vis-à-vis the US dollar during the period. Net availments by non-bank private borrowers (US$300 million) and by BSP (US$400 million) for reserve management purposes also contributed to the upward movement. Adjustments to reflect the increase in Philippine debt papers held by residents, however, reduced the level by US$134 million during the same period.

Major beneficiaries of loan disbursements were projects in the following areas: power generation and energy development; communications, transportation and other infrastructure projects; debt refinancing; and budgetary support.

Governor Buenaventura said further that: “The maturity profile of outstanding debt remained favorable and essentially unchanged from previous quarters with medium and long-term accounts comprising 89 percent of the total, with a weighted average maturity of more than 16 years.” The country’s external position likewise remained comfortable, with Gross International Reserves equivalent to more than 2.5 times the level of outstanding short-term accounts (those with original maturities of up to one year).

Obligations of the public sector (consisting of the National Government, government-owned and controlled corporations, BSP and other government financial institutions) comprised 65 percent of total external debt, with the balance pertaining to the private sector.

Amounts owed to official creditors (foreign governments and their export credit agencies as well as international financial institutions like the World Bank and Asian Development Bank) accounted for 49 percent of outstanding external obligations. Debt securities (such as bonds and notes) that are generally traded in offshore capital markets represented about a quarter (24.5 percent) of the total, while 22 percent pertained to obligations to private banks and other foreign financial institutions.

Governor Buenaventura said that the bulk of the country’s external debt remained denominated in two major currencies namely, the US Dollar (56 percent) and the Japanese Yen (26 percent). The balance is denominated in 24 other currencies.

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