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November BoP rebounds in surplus

Joshua Lao

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The country’s economic transactions, with the rest of the world wposted a surplus in November that reversed the year-ago deficit in the balance of payments (BoP).

This was learned from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Wednesday when it announced the BoP stood as a surplus totaling $847 million for the month of November, a turnaround from the recorded $458 million deficit in October and the $44 million in the same month last year.

In essence, the BoP is what is left after the country’s foreign currency expenses are deducted from its earnings from trade, investments as well as transfers.

“Inflows in November 2018 stemmed mainly from the BSP’s foreign exchange operations and its income from its investments abroad during the month,” the BSP said.

“There were partially offset, however, by the payments made by the national government (NG) during the month in review,” it quickly added.

On a cumulative basis, the country’s BoP for the first 11-months stood as a deficit of $4.75 billion, higher than the listed $1.78 billion deficit in the same period last year.

According to the BSP, the higher deficit was attributed in part to the widening merchandise trade in the first 10 months of the year brought about by the sustained rise in imports of raw materials, intermediate goods as well as capital goods to support the country’s domestic expansion.

With these figures, the BoP position also reflects the country’s gross international reserves (GIR) of $75.68 billion as of November this year.

The BSP said the GIR is more than ample foreign currency liquidity buffer equal to 6.7 months’ worth of imports of goods and payments of services and primary income.

“This equates to 5.6 times of the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 3.9 times based on residual maturity,” the BSP said.

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