THE Philippines’ gross international reserves (GIR) dropped to a new seven-year low of $74.772 billion in October, which the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) ascribed to its foreign exchange (forex) operations, and government net withdrawals and debt payments.
Central bank data released on Wednesday showed that last month’s reserves represented a 0.2-percent dip from September’s figure and was lower than $80.419 billion a year ago. The latest amount was the lowest since July 2011’s $71.883 billion.
The month-on-month decline was due “mainly to outflows arising from payments made by the national government for its maturing foreign exchange obligations, national government’s net foreign currency withdrawals, and foreign exchange operations of the BSP,” the Bangko Sentral said in a statement.
These were partially tempered by revaluation adjustments on the central bank’s gold holdings that resulted from the decrease in the price of gold in the international market and its income from its overseas investments.
The latest reserve level was enough to cover 6.8 months worth of imports, unchanged from September’s import cover, but lower than the 7.9 months posted a year earlier. It was also equivalent to 5.7 times the country’s short-term external obligations due within one year and 3.9 times based on residual maturity.
Net international reserves, which refer to the difference between GIR and total short-term liabilities, decreased to $74.76 billion compared to $74.92 billion at end-September.