By Lee C. Chipongian
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported a $5.73 billion balance of payments (BOP) surplus as of end-October, citing healthy foreign fund and remittance inflows during the period.
Compared to same time in 2018, the January-October BOP surplus was a reversal of the $5.59 billion deficit last year.
“The surplus may be attributed partly to personal remittance inflows from overseas Filipinos and net inflows of foreign direct investments,” according to the BSP.
Based on central bank data, for the month of October only, the BOP was in excess of $163 million, up from September’s $38 million, and reversing October 2018’s $458 million shortfall.
The BSP said the October surplus came from the National Government’s net foreign currency deposits in the central bank as well as income from its overseas investments. “These inflows were offset, however, by outflows representing payments made by the National Government on its foreign exchange obligations during the month in review,” said the BSP.
The BSP also reported that as of end-October, the country’s gross international reserves (GIR) totaled $85.83 billion which was the final GIR figure.
“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,” noted the BSP.
The BSP releases preliminary GIR numbers which it reported earlier was at $85.70 billion as of end-October.
The central bank has a BOP projection of $3.7 billion surplus for 2019 as of June forecasts.
Last year, the BOP was in deficit of $2.30 billion.