Debt payments, lower gold prices trim PH forex reserves

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The Philippines’ gross international reserves (GIR) declined in September with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) attributing the drop to its foreign exchange operations, lower gold prices and national government debt payments abroad.

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Central bank data released on Friday showed the country’s foreign exchange reserves at $81.34 billion for the month, down 0.46 percent from August. A year earlier it was at $86.13 billion.

“The month-on-month decline in GIR level was due mainly to outflows arising from the revaluation adjustments on the BSP’s gold holdings resulting from the decrease in the price of gold in the international market, payments made by the national government for its maturing foreign exchange obligations, and foreign exchange operations of the BSP,” the Bangko Sentral said in a statement.

These were partially offset by net foreign currency deposits by the national government and the central bank’s income from investments abroad.

The reserves were enough to cover 8.5 months worth of imports, lower than the 8.6 months in August and the 9.7 months recorded year earlier, central bank data showed.

They were also equivalent to 5.5 times the short-term external obligations due within one year and 3.6 times based on residual maturity.

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