• Aug GIR slips to $80.3B on debt payments

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    THE Philippines’ gross international reserves (GIR) slipped for the second straight month to $80.3 billion in August, data from the central bank showed.

    The country’s dollar reserves were down by a slight 0.09 percent from July and by 0.76 percent from $615 million a year earlier.

    Debt payments by the national government on maturing obligations and foreign exchange operations of the central bank were the main reasons for the drop in the reserves, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said in a statement issued on Monday.

    However, the national government’s net foreign currency deposits and the BSP’s income from investments abroad, as well as the revaluation adjustments on the central bank’s gold holdings and foreign currency-denominated reserves, helped to offset the decline, it said.

    The latest GIR level is enough to cover 10.5 months of merchandise imports and payments of services and income, or basically the same import cover as reported in July, the BSP said.

    “It is also equivalent to 6.4 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 4.5 times based on residual maturity,” it added.

    The central bank forecasts the country’s foreign reserves to reach $81.6 billion by yearend.

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