• Debt service surges in Feb as peso depreciates

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    Debt service by the national government rose significantly in February from a year earlier as interest payments and amortization expanded during the month, data from the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) showed.

    Debt payments totaled P86.57 billion in February, up 243 percent from P25.21 billion in the same comparable period.

    Philstocks.ph senior research analyst Justino Calaycay Jr. traced the surge in debt payments to the peso depreciation.

    “I would say one of the major factors that grew our debt servicing outlays is the depreciation of the Philippine peso vis-a-vis the US dollar,” he said.

    Calaycay noted that the average exchange rate stood at P47.49:$1 as of end-February 2016, but the peso has since depreciated to P49.96 in February this year.

    Interest payments, which account for 27.9 percent of total debt service, rose by 13.86 percent to P24.23 billion from P21.28 billion.

    Domestic interest payments eased by 0.41 percent to P16.06 billion, while foreign debt service rose by 58.9 percent to P8.13 billion.

    BTr data showed amortization expense, which make up the bulk or 72 of the total debt payments last year, was up 1,484 percent to P62.34 billion from P3.93 billion in 2016.

    In the two-months to February, debt payments, however, declined 15.9 percent to P156.57 billion from P186.17 billion.

    The outstanding debt of the national government stood at P6.20 trillion as of end-February, up 4.5 percent from P5.94 trillion in 2016.

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