Lower gold prices and debt payments by the national government pulled the Philippines’ gross international reserves (GIR) slightly lower in May, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said on Tuesday.
Data from the central bank indicated GIR declined 0.28 percent in May to $83.51 billion from $83.73 billion in April.
Year-on-year, however, May GIR was 3.8 percent higher than the $80.4 billion recorded in May 2015.
The BSP said the decrease was “due mainly to revaluation adjustments on the BSP’s gold holdings resulting from the decrease in the price of gold in the international market and payments made by the National Government (NG) for its maturing foreign exchange obligations.”
The reduction in reserves was partially offset by gains from the BSP’s foreign exchange operations and its income from investments abroad, it said.
The latest GIR level is enough to cover 10.4 months of merchandise imports and payments of services and income, lower than 10.5 percent imports cover in April, it added. It was, however, higher than the 10.2 months’ import cover recorded a year earlier.
The end-May dollar reserves are also equivalent to 5.4 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 4.1 times based on residual maturity, the BSP said.
The BSP expects the country’s foreign reserves to decline further to $82.7 billion by the end of 2016.