Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Philippines sees 2009 BOP surplus at $500 mln-source

THOMSON FINANCIAL NEWS
http://www.forbes.com/feeds/afx/2009/02/23/afx6085809.html

MANILA, Feb 24 (Reuters) - The Philippines will likely end this year with a balance of payments (BOP) surplus of $500 million, far higher than a $89 million surplus in 2008, which was a four-year low, a central bank source said.

'It (BOP) will still be in surplus, at $500 million,' the source said late on Tuesday, ahead of the expected release of updated 2009 Philippine macroeconomic estimates on Wednesday.

The source did not give further details.

The Philippines had a BOP surplus of $1.735 billion in January, reversing a deficit of $275 million in December, boosted by proceeds from a $1.5 billion global bond and the sale of rights to operate the country's power grid to a private group.

Analysts expect the country's external payments position to be under pressure this year with remittance flows predicted to slow sharply, if not contract, after rising by double-digits in at least the last three years.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ralph Recto said on Monday the country's economic managers were looking at lowering the high end of its current 3.7-4.7 percent growth forecast for the year, more optimistic than estimates in a Reuters poll and that of the International Monetary Fund.

(Reporting by Karen Lema; Editing by Rosemarie Francisco)

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