THE Philippines’ gross international reserves (GIR) dipped in March but are expected to stay above the $80-billion mark in the months ahead and continue to support the peso, a research analyst said.
On Tuesday, central bank data showed the country’s GIR dropped 0.5 percent in March from February due to the government’s debt servicing and revaluation adjustments in gold and other reserves.
“We’ve been expecting the GIR to go back to the $80-billion mark, after going down in 2014, given some improvements in the global economy,” said Pauline Ravelas, research analyst at Metrobank research.
“Thus, the country’s international liquidity position remains favorable and should continue to support the peso,” she added.
According to data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), GIR declined by $457 million to $80.38 billion in March from $80.84 billion in February. But from a year ago, GIR in March was up by almost 5 percent or by $735 million from the $79.65 billion recorded in March 2014. .
“The decrease in reserves was mainly due to the payments by the national government for its maturing foreign exchange obligations and revaluation adjustments in the central bank’s gold holdings and foreign-currency denominated reserves,” the BSP said.
The national government’s net foreign currency deposits and the central bank’s foreign exchange income from its investment abroad partially offset the month-on-month decline in GIR, the BSP added.
According to the central bank, the latest GIR level provides a buffer of 10.5 months’ worth of imports of goods and payments of services and income, down slightly from the 10.6-month import cover in February.
“It is also equivalent to 4.9 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 3.9 times based on residual maturity,” the BSP added.