More US dollars exited the Philippines in April with the balance of payments (BOP) position reverting to a deficit of $415 million, the biggest in almost a year, as the national government settled more foreign obligations.
Latest data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed that the shortfall last month was a complete reversal of the $2.61 billion surplus booked in April last year and the $754 million in March.
“The BOP deficit in April 2022 reflected outflows mainly from the national government’s foreign currency withdrawals from its deposits with the BSP as the national government settled its foreign currency debt obligations and paid for various expenditures,” the BSP said in a statement.
Notwithstanding the deficit in April, the central bank reported the cumulative BOP position registered a surplus of $79 million in the first four months of the year.
This was a reversal from the $231 million deficit recorded in the same period a year ago. Based on preliminary data, the cumulative BOP surplus reflected inflows that stemmed mainly from personal remittances, net foreign borrowings by the national government, and foreign direct investments.
The gross international reserves (GIR) level declined to $105.4 billion as of end April from $107.31 billion as of end March.
The foreign exchange buffer represents a more than adequate external liquidity buffer equivalent to 9.3 months’ worth of imports of goods and payments of services and primary income.
It is also about 6.7 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 4.5 times based on residual maturity.
The central bank is expecting a BOP deficit of $4.3 billion instead of a smaller surplus of $700 million for this year as well as a smaller GIR level of $108 billion instead of a record high of $112 billion.