PH debt ratio falls to 55.8%

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The Philippines’ outstanding public sector debt (OPSD) as a proportion of gross domestic product (GDP) eased to 55.8 percent as of the third quarter of 2015 from 60.3 percent a year earlier, Finance department data showed.

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The OPSD, amounting to P7.3 trillion, covers general government debt and borrowings of 14 monitored state-owned firms less intra-sector debt holdings.

The latest figure, the Finance department said on Thursday, “marks the lowest OPSD debt-to-GDP ratio ever since the earliest comparable period of 1998, and is a marked difference from 2009, when it stood at 70.9 percent, a 15.1 percentage point difference.”

The OPSD mix, broken down, was 68.9 percent sourced from domestic creditors and the remaining 31.1 percent from external creditors.

The Finance department traced the improvement to government/government-owned and
-controlled corporation (GOCC) deposits with government financial institututions (GFIs) and a corresponding increase in GFI deposits with the central bank.

It also noted a drop in the outstanding obligations of the 14 monitored GOCCs.

“We will continue to closely monitor GOCC debt to ensure they remain healthy and resilient from external volatility,” Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said.

“Over the past 6 years we have seen our GOCCs get their acts together. As long as there’s still room for improvement, you can expect the government to continue pushing for progress,” he added.

An P81.4-billion decrease in the non-financial public corporations’ debt, the Finance department said, primarily was due to the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp., which improved its liquidity position.

The combined borrowings of financial and non-financial public corporations as a share of GDP also declined to 19 percent from 23 percent last year because of sturdy economic growth, the department said.

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