PH posts $740-M balance of payments deficit in January

By Anna Leah Gonzales

February 20, 2024, 10:15 am

<p>Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas facade <em>(File photo)</em></p>

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas facade (File photo)

MANILA – The country's overall balance of payments (BOP) position posted a deficit of USD740 million in January 2024, a reversal from the USD3.1 billion BOP surplus recorded in the same month last year, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said.

"The BOP deficit in January 2024 reflected outflows arising mainly from the National Government’s (NG) payments of its foreign currency debt obligations," the central bank said in a statement late Monday.

The BOP is a summary of the economic transactions of a country with the rest of the world for a specific period.

The overall position can be in surplus, in deficit, or in balance.

The BSP said the BOP position reflects a decrease in the final gross international reserves (GIR) level to USD103.3 billion as of end-January 2024 from USD103.8 billion as of end-December 2023.

"Notwithstanding the decline, the latest GIR level represents a more than adequate external liquidity buffer equivalent to 7.7 months’ worth of imports of goods and payments of services and primary income," it said.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation chief economist Michael Ricafort said the deficit last month was partly due to continued trade deficit as seen in recent months, as well as some payment of foreign debt upon crossing the new year.

"For the coming months, the BOP data could improve, thereby could also lead to better gross international reserves (GIR) data, due to the following factors: proceeds of the national government's foreign currency-denominated borrowings from both commercial sources, as well as from official development assistance and other multilateral sources," he said.

Other factors include the continued growth in overseas Filipino remittances, business process outsourcing revenues, foreign tourism receipts, other structural US dollar inflows of the country, and continued net foreign direct investments, he added. (PNA)