THE Philippines’ balance of payments (BOP) swung to a deficit in March after four months of surpluses due mainly to debt payments made by the national government during the month, the central bank said on Monday.
Data released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed that the country registered a BOP deficit of $244 million in March, a turnaround from the $985 million surplus recorded in February, which was the highest surplus in 19 months.
Although in negative territory in March, the BOP deficit was still lower than the $340 million deficit in the same month last year.
The central bank data also showed that despite the deficit in March, the cumulative BOP for the first three months stood at a surplus of $877 million, reversing the $4.45 billion deficit recorded in the same quarter last year.
The central bank remains bullish that the country will end 2015 with a $1 billion BOP surplus given the robust current accounts position and the recovery in the capital and financial accounts.
“Even as we continue to reassess our BOP projections for 2015 and 2016, the current trends point to at least a $1 billion surplus in the BOP,” said Diwa Guinigundo, deputy governor at the Monetary Stability Sector of the BSP.
Guinigundo said that based on the BSP’s October 2014 projection, the current account position is expected to turn in at least $6.8 billion surplus while the capital and financial accounts are expected to recover significantly from last year’s “bloodbath” following large volatilities in the global financial markets in relation to the US Federal Reserve’s taper tantrum.
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.
Last year, the country posted a BOP deficit of $2.88 billion, reversing the payments surplus of $5.09 billion recorded in 2013.