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PH dollar reserves hit all-time high in Sept

THE country’s gross international reserves (GIR) hit a record-high of $86.16 billion in September boosted by the government’s foreign currency deposits and the central bank’s investment income.

 A man counts dollar bills inside a money changer in Manila. PHOTO BY J. GERARD SEGUIA

The figure surpassed the previous all-time high reserves level of $86.13 billion recorded in September 2016 as well as the $83 billion projection of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) for this year.

It was 0.15 percent and 14.79 percent higher than those posted in August and a year ago, respectively, preliminary BSP data released on Monday showed.

In a statement, the central bank said the month-on-month increase “reflects the national government’s net foreign-currency deposits and [the] BSP’s income from its investments abroad.”

These were partially tempered by payments made by the government for servicing its foreign exchange obligations.

The latest reserve level was enough to cover 7.5 months’ worth of imports, the same buffer in August but higher than the 6.6 months a year earlier, respectively.

It was also equivalent to 5.4 times the country’s short-term external obligations due within one year and 3.9 times based on residual maturity.

Net international reserves, which refer to the difference between GIR and total short-term liabilities, increased to $86.15 billion from $86.02 billion a month earlier.

GIR are foreign assets that are readily available to and controlled by the BSP for direct financing of payment imbalances, and for managing the magnitude of such imbalances. It consists of holdings of gold, special drawing rights, foreign investments, and foreign exchange, including reserve position in the fund.

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