The Philippines’ gross international reserves (GIR) were back to a healthy level in February after a slump the previous month, providing an 11.5-month buffer for the country, central bank data shows.
Month-on-month, GIR grew by $800 million to $80.3 billion in February from $79.5 billion in January, according to the latest figures from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) released on Friday.
However, on a yearly basis, the country’s GIR fell 4 percent in February from the $83.6 billion recorded in the corresponding month in 2013.
A big part of the boost in GIR from the first to the second month this year came from the bank’s “revaluation adjustment” of its gold reserves, as well as gains from its foreign exchange operations and income from investments within the month, BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said in a statement.
The GIR gains in February this year, however, were capped by the country’s debt payments.
“These inflows were partially offset by payments of the national government for its maturing foreign exchange obligations,” Tetangco said.
The $80.3-billion GIR level in February is equivalent to 7.9 times of the country’s short-term external debt on original maturity rates, and 5.7 times based on residual maturity, he added.
Juanis Barredo, COL Financial Group Inc. chief technical analyst, told
The Manila Times in a text message: “This still shows over 11 months of needed reserves, which is quite healthy [for the country].”
The improvement in February, though slight, was regarded as significant in light of the big drop in January of $4.3 billion to $79.5 billion from $83.2 billion in December 2013.
The February issue of The Market Call said the BSP sold some $4 billion of the GIR in January to protect the peso from depreciating to the P46:$1 level in January.
The Market Call is jointly published monthly by financial firm First Metro Investments Corp. and the University of Asia and the Pacific.