The Philippines’ current account surplus continued to expand in the first quarter of the year, supporting the country’s balance of payments during the period.
In a press briefing on Friday, the Bango Sentral ng Pilpinas (BSP) said current accounts posted a surplus of $2 billion for the quarter, reflecting a 13.2-percent increase from the $1.7 billion surplus recorded in the corresponding quarter a year earlier.
The BSP noted that the first quarter figure is equivalent to 3.1 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
“The continued strength of the current accounts was supported mainly by increased net receipts in both secondary and primary income accounts, along with decreased deficit in the trade in goods account, which more than compensated for the lower net receipts in the service account,” said Rosabel Guerrero, director for the BSP’s Department of Economic Statistics.
Current accounts consist of transactions in goods, services, primary income and secondary income, and measure the net transfer of real resources between the domestic economy and the rest of the world.
The BSP data showed that the trade in goods account, which is composed of exports and imports of goods, posted a narrower deficit of $4.1 billion compared with the $4.2-billion deficit registered in the same quarter the previous year.
Guerrero said the trade in goods account recorded a 2.1 percent improvement on the back of a 6.6 percent expansion in exports, compared with the 4.1 percent growth of imports during the period.
The net services receipts account, which measures production activity that changes the conditions of the consuming units or facilitates the exchange of products or financial assets, amounted to $1 billion, 29.6 percent lower than the $1.4 billion net receipts posted a year earlier.
“The lower net receipts form telecommunications, computer, and information services combined with higher net payments in transport, charges for the use of intellectual property, maintenance and repairs, financial, and government services further contributed to the decline in the services account,” the BSP official said.
The primary income account, which shows flows for the use of labor and financial resources between resident and nonresident institutional units, recorded net receipts of $22 million in the first quarter, a turnaround from the $151 million net payments a year earlier.
“This remarkable improvement was attributed largely to higher earnings of resident overseas Filipino workers, which increased by 11.7 percent to reach $1.8 billion,” Guerrero said.
Finally, the net receipts of secondary income account, or current transfers between residents and nonresidents, expanded by 8.6 percent to $5 billion relative to the year-ago level of $4.6 billion. It was driven by the 5.3 percent increase in the personal transfers sub-account, which reached $4.6 billion during the quarter.