• Foreign loans prepayments hit $2.8B in 2013

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    Prepayments of foreign loans hit $2.808 billion in 2013, exceeding the year-earlier amount as public and private borrowers took advantage of the strong peso, data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed on Tuesday.

    Comparative prepayments of government and private entities in the country in 2012 stood at $1.813 billion.

    The data pertains to foreign denominated debt payable in five years paid up ahead of the expiration of their payment terms, done to make debts more manageable. The central bank said that prepayment of foreign loans is a prudent exercise when the local currency shows strength.

    The Philippine peso averaged at P42.45 to the dollar last year despite the volatility in the global financial markets brought about by uncertainty over the tapering of the quantitative easing program of the United States Federal Reserve.

    Private corporations accounted for the bulk of payments, which reached $2.337 billion, higher than the $1.172 billion prepayments made a year earlier.

    The public sector—which includes the national and local governments, as well as state-owned and -controlled corporations—prepaid a total of $417 million last year, lower than the $641 million recorded in 2012.

    According to the Bureau of Treasury, the national government’s outstanding debt jumped to $127.67 billion in 2013 because of higher domestic obligations, with 66 percent of the total debt sourced to local creditors.

    Domestic debt increased by 7.6 percent year-on-year to P3.733 trillion ($83.89 billion), while external debt fell by 1.1 percent to P1.948 trillion ($43.78 billion) from the previous year’s level.

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