THE Philippines’ balance of payments (BOP) position remained in surplus in September at $98 million but narrowed from the $114 million recorded in the preceding month, data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed on Monday.
The September surplus was also significantly lower than the year-earlier BOP surplus of $465 million, the BSP said.
Nonetheless, the surplus in September helped to trim the cumulative payments deficit for the first nine months to $3.43 billion from $3.53 billion in the January to August period.
Last year, the country recorded a payments surplus of $3.82 billion for the nine months to September.
The central bank explained that the BOP surplus was lower in September due to the settlement of the national government’s maturing external obligations and the $234 million net outflow in registered portfolio investments.
“On the inflows side were the BSP’s income from foreign exchange operations and income from investments abroad,” it said.
The balance of payments summarizes the country’s economic transactions with the rest of the world over a certain period. It consists of the current account, the capital account, and the financial account.
For this year, the BSP is targeting a payments surplus of $1.1 billion, equivalent to 0.3 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. In 2013, the cumulative BOP stood at a surplus of $5.09 billion.
Nicholas Antonio Mapa, Bank of the Philippine Islands associate economist, said the central bank may not achieve its BOP surplus target this year.
“For the next few months, we may begin to see more outflows than inflows and thus, I think the full year target for a $1.1 billion surplus may be difficult to achieve,” he said.
“In October, we’ve seen a sharp reversal in global risk tone, which could have its toll on financial flows, with only the steady influx of remittances seen to counter the outflow,” he added.
For his part, BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said the BOP surplus in September is only minimally lower than that of the prior month, noting that the levels of surpluses each month vary, but the components are essentially the same.
“The resulting surplus/deficit for a given month would be the net of these basic transactions—receipts from BSP operations and investment income from abroad as well as deposits of national government versus the national government payments of its maturing obligations,” he said.