Saturday, 27 March 2010

1st quarter investments topped full ’09 record

by Roderick T. dela Cruz
Manila Standard

The global economic recovery and rising confidence in the Philippine economy pushed the foreign portfolio investments in the first quarter of 2010 to $389 million, exceeding the full-year figure recorded in 2009.

“For the first three months, it is higher than the whole of 2009,” Bangko Sentral Assistant Gov. Ma. Cyd Tuano Amador told reporters in a news briefing Thursday.

Bangko Sentral Deputy Gov. Diwa Guinigundo said the figure was five times greater than the year-ago investment level.

Data from the Bangko Sentral showed that foreign portfolio investments reached $389.36 billion as of March 12, up from just $75.53 million a year ago.

With the strong foreign portfolio investments, Guinigundo hinted that Bangko Sentral might revised upward its balance of payments surplus target this year from a range of $3 billion to $4 billion.

“We can recalibrate our projection to reflect actual developments,” Guinigundo said, adding that the revision of the forecast would be made in April.

Guinigundo noted that “the global economic recovery is gaining more traction while the domestic economy and financial markets continue to show significant improvement.”

Bangko Sentral, in its Fourth Quarter 2009 BoP report, said the current account surplus reached $8.6 billion in 2009, equivalent to 5.3 percent of the gross domestic product.

“The more-than-two fold increase over the $3.6-billion surplus recorded in 2008 was brought about by the favorable performance of all the components of the current account, except the income account,” said Rosabel Guerrero, director of Bangko Sentral’s Department of Economic Statistics.

The balance of payments also reflected a surplus of $5.849 billion as of December, up from just $89- million a year ago.

These surpluses were recorded despite an $8.9 billion deficit in foreign trade.

Guerrero said remittances, exports from business process outsourcing, foreign direct investments and foreign portfolio investments led to stronger balance of payments position.

“Net current transfers receipts rose year-on-year by 4.7 percent to $16 billion,” Bangko Sentral said.

This was led by a 5.6-percent increase in remittances to $17.3 billion last year.

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