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September 26, 2022

COVID-19 response measures continue to push NG debt higher in January

The continuing effort to blunt the debilitating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the indebtedness of the national government 2.4 percent higher in just a month to P12.03 trillion.

A key indicator of the country’s economic health and one keenly followed by the nation’s creditors, the Bureau of Treasury (BTr) said the bulk of the new borrowings were sourced from domestic lenders.

According the BTr, the new borrowings in January totaled P301.12 billion which included new debt from local and overseas creditors that pushed NG obligations 2.6 percent higher.

“NG domestic debt amounted to P8.37 trillion, which is P197.38 billion or 2.4 percent higher compared to end-December 2021 level. This is primarily due to net availment of domestic financing amounting to P197.04 billion, including the P300 billion provisional advances availed by the NG from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas for budgetary support,” the agency said.

NG External debt of P3.66 trillion was P103.74 billion or 2.9 percent higher from the previous month. The upward adjustment in foreign debt was traced to the weakened peso for the period amounting to P11.23 billion and the net availment of more foreign debt amounting to P94.88 billion.

The obligations were tempered only by adjustment in the foreign currencies totaling P2.37 billion.

The multilateral financial institutions as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have cautioned emerging economies like the Philippines to carefully manage their external obligations, particularly as reflected in the country’s debt as percent of local output or the gross domestic product (GDP).

Fast-rising external debt render emerging economies to a host of risks like currency and event risks, among others and impact on their ability to meet such obligations as they fall due.

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