Friday, 24 December 2010

BoP surplus exceeds $13b

Roderick T. dela Cruz
Manila Standard

Strong dollar inflows from exports, investments, outsourcing revenues and tourism receipts pushed the country’s balance of payments surplus to a record high of $13.178 billion in the first 11 months of the year.

Bangko Sentral Deputy Gov. Diwa Guinigundo credited the strong surplus to increasing exports, remittances, revenues from BPOs, international tourism receipts, as well as the investment income of Bangko Sentral from its investments abroad.

“All of these plus inflow capital, both from direct investments and portfolio investments, brought about the all-time high BoP surplus,” he said.

Guinigundo said Bangko Sentral was likely to upgrade its BoP surplus forecast for 2011 from the original estimate of just $1.9 billion.

“We will have to upgrade that number. At this point, we are still completing our run. We will have to adjust our targets for 2011,” Guinigundo said.

The 11-month BoP surplus in 2010 was 153 percent higher than $6.421 billion year-on-year and exceeded last year’s full-year figure of $6.421 billion. It also topped the previous record of $8.557 billion in 2007, before the global financial crisis reduced the balance of payments surplus to just $89 million in 2008.

Bangko Sentral was looking at a BoP surplus of just $8.2 billion for the whole of 2010. The balance of payments represents the country’s external strength and summarizes all the foreign exchange inflows and outflows.

A surplus means more money came into the economy than what went out.

In November alone, the Philippines posted a balance of payments surplus of $3.902 billion, up from $2.736 billion in October. It also reversed the $93-million deficit in November last year.

The strong BoP position is the main reason behind the appreciation of the peso against the US dollar this year. It has prompted Bangko Sentral to intervene in the currency market by buying dollars in the market, which had the effect of rising gross international reserves that amounted to $61.3 billion at the end of November, exceeding for the first time the country’s external debt placed at $57 billion as of June.

Remittances rose 7.9 percent year-on-year to $15.456 billion in the first 10 months of 2010, while merchandise exports jumped 37 percent to $43 billion in 10 months to October.

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