Thursday, 17 September 2009

End-August ’09 RP BOP surplus reaches US$ 2.8B

MANILA (PNA) – Philippine balance of payment (BOP) position further increased in end-August this year after it reached US$ 2.78 billion.

Data released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Thursday showed that the eight-month surplus this year is higher than year-ago’s US$ 2.02 billion surplus.

For August this year alone, inflows reached US$ 53 million surplus, lower than the previous month’s US$ 506 million surplus.

It, however, is a reversal of the US$ 54 million deficit posted by the country in August 2008.

BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said continued strong remittance inflows continue to power the country’s BOP position.

“(The surplus was) due to higher remittances, other services receipts and foreign exchange capital inflows,” he said.

The central bank forecasts this year’s BOP position to reach US$ 700 million, higher compared to the US$ 89 million the country registered in 2008, which in turn, is still positive considering the global economic slowdown.

Earlier, monetary officials said the country’s BOP position will receive some lift from the government’s plan to issue Samurai bond, which is being issued in Japan by a foreign government or corporation.

The Philippine government, through Finance Secretary Margarito Teves, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC) for a 95 percent guarantee fee for up to US$ 1 billion issuance within two years.

Earlier, finance officials are not sure whether to issue the debt instrument this year to either help plug this year’s P250-billion budget deficit or pre-fund next year’s foreign borrowings.

This as the Department of Finance (DOF) waits for the decision of JBIC on its request to lower the guarantee fee for the debt paper.

However, recent reports said the government is now mulling to issue Samurai bond in the fourth quarter this year to pre-fund the country’s 2010 borrowings.

National Treasurer Roberto Tan was quoted as saying that the plan is being considered after they “have firmed up the terms of the guarantee.”

Relatively, the government’s issuance of US$ 750 million Republic of the Philippines (ROP) bond last July boosted the country’s BOP position that month.

Monetary officials said the BOP forecast is now under review and revisions will be announced in October.

Tetangco earlier said the end-year BOP surplus could reach around US$ 1 billion.(PNA)

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