Friday, May 6, 2016

Rise in gold value, forex deposits, investment gains

The country's dollar reserves reached a 29-month high of $83.47 billion as of the end of the first four months of the year, preliminary data released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Friday showed.

The end-April gross international reserves (GIR) level was not only higher than the $82.98 billion at end-March but also the highest since December 2013, when the dollar reserves hit $83.19 billion.

BSP officer in charge Vicente S. Aquino attributed the GIR growth to "evaluation gains on the BSP's gold holdings arising from the increase in the price of gold in the international market, the rise in the net foreign currency deposits of the national government, as well as the BSP's income from investments abroad."

The increase in GIR in April, however, was partially offset by the government's payments for maturing foreign exchange obligations, Aquino said.

The GIR level as of end-April can cover 10.4 months' worth of imports of goods and services.

The amount was likewise equivalent to 5.5 times the short-term external debt based on original maturity, as well as 4.1 times based on residual maturity.

The BSP defines short-term debt based on residual maturity as outstanding foreign debt whose original maturity was a year or less, plus principal payments on medium- and long-term loans of the government as well as the private sector that were due within the next 12 months.

The net international reserves, or the difference between the GIR and total short-term liabilities, likewise rose to $83.45 billion as of the end of April from $82.96 billion a month ago.

For 2016, the BSP had projected the balance of payments or BOP surplus to reach $2.2 billion, which would result in a full-year GIR level of $82.7 billion, equivalent to nine months of import cover.

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