• Foreign currency-based loans up in 1st quarter of 2013

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    Foreign Currency Deposit Units (FCDU) loans rose in the first quarter of 2013 as loan disbursements accelerated, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said on Friday.

    In a statement, BSP Officer in Charge Diwa Guinigundo announced that FCDU stood at $9.653 billion or an increase of 11.4 percent compared to the recorded FCDU loans in end- December

    It was higher by $1 billion than the end-December level of $8.665 billion.

    “This development may be attributed to the low interest rate environment, stable exchange rate and positive business and consumer sentiment due to strong macro-economic fundamentals,” the central bank said.

    Medium- to long-term (MLT) loans represented 61.6 percent of the total, with short-term (ST) accounts making up the 38.4 percent balance.

    MLT loans are those payable over a term of more than one year, while ST accounts are those with original maturities up to one year.

    The central bank also noted that loans to resident borrowers, or mainly the private sector, represented 81.8 percent or $7.899 billion of the total portfolio.

    It added that the loans’ major beneficiaries were public utility firms; merchandise and service exporters; and producers/manufacturers, including oil companies.

    The BSP said that gross disbursements during the quarter rose to $5.4 billion. It was 1.8 percent or $93 million higher compared to a quarter ago level of $5.3 billion.

    It said the bulk or 81.1 percent of new loans had short-term maturities, which were largely for working capital requirements.

    FCDU deposit liabilities went up by $341 million, or 1.4 percent, to $25.5 billion, from $25.2 billion at the close of 2012.

    The bulk of the deposits or 98.2 percent continued to be held by residents.

    “The loan deposit ratio increased to 37.8 percent in the first quarter of 2013 from only 34.4 percent in December 2012,” the BSP said.

    MAYVELIN U. CARABALLO

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