BOP posts $854-M surplus

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Reverses year-earlier and month-earlier deficits; highest since Feb 2015

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The country’s balance of payments (BOP) returned to positive territory in March, recording the biggest surplus in 13 months, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported on Tuesday.

The BOP posted an $854-million surplus in March, reversing the $316 million deficit in February as well as the $244 shortfall a year earlier.

March BOP position also posted the biggest surplus in 13 months since the $985 million surplus recorded in February 2015.

The central bank attributed the BOP surplus to healthy remittance inflows, business process outsourcing (BPO) and tourist receipts, foreign direct investments, foreign portfolio investments, government debt servicing, and BSP investments abroad.

“The $854 million BOP surplus for March derived from continued inflows from remittances, BPO’s and tourist receipts,” central bank Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo told reporters in a text message.

“Capital flows-wise, we continue to see foreign direct investments and portfolio investments remaining generally resilient,” he said.

Guinigundo also noted that the national government also deposited proceeds from their loans with the BSP, while income from BSP’s investments abroad also brought in additional flows.

The BOP summarizes the country’s economic transactions with the rest of the world over a certain period. It consists of the current account, capital account and the financial account.

On a year-to-date basis the country’s BOP position remained in deficit despite the strong March performance. The cumulative three-month deficit was at $275 million, a turnaround of the $877 billion surplus during the same period in 2015.

“We remain optimistic that we shall be able to achieve our BOP target surplus of some $2.2 billion by the end of 2016,” Guinigundo said.

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