PH posts $639-M deficit in April

By Anna Leah Gonzales

May 21, 2024, 9:31 am

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

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (File photo)

MANILA – The Philippines posted a USD639-million balance of payments (BOP) deficit in April this year, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has said.

Data released by the BSP late Monday showed that the BOP deficit during the year was higher than the USD148 million deficit recorded in April last year.

"The BOP deficit in April 2024 reflected outflows arising mainly the National Government’s (NG) net foreign currency withdrawals from its deposits with the BSP to settle its foreign currency debt obligations and pay for its various expenditures," the BSP said.

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, deficit, or balance.

The central bank said the BOP deficit in April 2024 brought the current year-to-date BOP level to a USD401 million deficit, a reversal from the USD3.3 billion surplus recorded in January-April 2023.

"Based on preliminary data, this cumulative BOP deficit reflected mainly the NG’s repayments of its foreign loans coupled with the continued trade in goods deficit," the BSP said.

Preliminary data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that the trade deficit for January-March 2024 reached USD11.2 billion, down from the USD14.5 billion deficit posted in January-March 2023.

The BSP said the BOP position reflects a decrease in the final gross international reserves (GIR) level to USD102.6 billion as of end-April 2024 from USD104.1 billion as of end-March 2024.

It noted however that the latest GIR level represents a more than adequate external liquidity buffer equivalent to 7.6 months’ worth of imports of goods and payments of services and primary income.

"Moreover, it is also about 5.8 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 3.6 times based on residual maturity," the BSP said.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation chief economist Michael Ricafort meanwhile said that in the coming months, the country's BOP position could improve.

"For the coming months, BOP data could still improve with the continued growth in the country’s structural inflows as the economy reopens further towards greater normalcy, in terms of the continued year-on-year growth OFW (overseas Filipino workers) remittances, Business Process Outsourcing revenues, export revenues and foreign tourism receipts," Ricafort said. (PNA)