The country’s transactions with the rest of the world, also known as the balance of payments (BOP), stood as a deficit in the first quarter, totaling almost $1 billion.
Data from the central bank released on Wednesday showed the BOP as a deficit of $994 million, indicating the net outflow of foreign currency resulting from the country’s transactions with the rest of the world.
This developed as the dollar deficit in March alone hit $550 million, higher than the previous month’s $436 million and the reverse of the previous year’s $854-million surplus.
The three-month deficit of $994 million is larger than the full year deficit of $420 million in 2016 and the $210-million deficit in the first quarter of the same year.
Last year’s BOP position was a disappointment given the $500 million projected surplus by the government for the period. The same also represented a significant reduction from an earlier estimated $2-billion surplus for the year.
This year the government forecasts the BOP to yield a surplus of at least $1 billion as consequence of better economic climate around the world, phased adjustments in imported oil and sanguine expectations on the performance of the domestic economy.
Earlier this year Central Bank officials expressed optimism that the Philippines’s external position should find renewed vigor on the back of the country’s strong macroeconomic fundamentals.
However, just last month, the central bank said the Philippines’s current account, essentially an indicator telling whether a given economy is a net lender or borrower on the global stage, stood as a deficit in the final three months last year.
This was the first time the current account closed the year in a state of deficit.