Debt payments swell 11-month BOP gap to $7.9 billion

THE country posted its highest Balance of Payments (BOP) deficit on record in the January to November period in 2022, according to data released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), which traced the November 2022 outflows to debt payments and net foreign exchange operations.

The BOP deficit in November brought the current year-to-date BOP level to a $7.9-billion deficit, a reversal from the $353-million surplus recorded in the same period a year ago.

Prior to the January to November 2022 BOP deficit, the highest on record was in the January to October 2018 period when the deficit reached $5.594 billion.

“Based on preliminary data, this cumulative BOP deficit was due to the widening trade in goods deficit as goods imports continued to surpass goods exports on the back of the increase in international commodity prices and resumption in domestic economic activities,” BSP said in a statement on Tuesday.

In November 2022, the BOP posted a deficit of $756 million, higher than the $123-million BOP deficit recorded in the same month last year.

“The BOP deficit in November 2022 reflected outflows arising mainly from the National Government’s payments of its foreign currency debt obligations and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ net foreign exchange operations,” BSP said.

GIR level

Meanwhile, the BSP said the country’s gross international reserves (GIR) level increased to $95.1 billion as of end-November 2022.

This was from $94 billion as of end-October 2022, an upward revision from the initial estimate of around $93 billion.

BSP Governor Felipe M. Medalla said additional reserves came in the form of borrowings, other money inflows, and higher value of the government’s assets.

The BSP said the latest GIR represented a more than adequate external liquidity buffer equivalent to 7.2 months’ worth of imports of goods and payments of services and primary income.

It is also about 5.8 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 3.8 times based on residual maturity.

Image credits: Nonie Reyes


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