THE Philippines’ gross international reserves (GIR) rose to its highest level in over two years at the end of March, boosted by proceeds from the government’s global bond issuance and loans extended by a multilateral lender.
Data from the central bank said GIR rose 0.88 percent in March to $82.60 billion from $81.87 billion in February. This is the highest level of reserves since the $83.18 billion in December 2013.
The reserves were also up 2.66 percent from $80.45 billion in March 2015.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) traced the increase to foreign currency deposits by the national government, which include proceeds from its issuance of global bonds amounting $495 million, and from program loans extended by the Asian Development Bank.
Other sources of reserves were central bank’s income from investments abroad, and revaluation adjustments to BSP’s foreign-currency denominated reserves.
These were partially offset by national government’s payments of maturing obligations, and revaluation adjustments on the BSP’s gold holdings “resulting from the decrease in the price of gold in the international market,” it said in a statement.
The latest GIR level is enough to cover 10.3 months of merchandise imports and payments of services and income, higher than the previous month’s import cover of 10.2 months, the BSP added.
The end-March dollar reserves are also equivalent to 5.4 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 4 times based on residual maturity.
The BSP expects the country’s foreign reserves to reach $82.7 billion by yearend.