PHL foreign reserves back to $100-B level

MANILA – The Philippines’ gross international reserves (GIR) at end-October 2023 returned to US$100-billion level after the country logged a surplus in its balance of payments (BOP) last month.

In a report, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said that the country’s foreign reserves increased to US$101 billion as of end-October this year, which means the country has adequate external liquidity buffer equivalent to 7.5 months’ worth of imports of goods and payments of services and primary income.

The GIR level as of end last month increased from US$98.1 billion foreign reserves as of end-September 2023.

The GIR level fell below the US$100 billion mark since July this year.

The improvement in the foreign reserves last month was attributed to the country’s BOP position in October 2023, which posted a surplus of US$1.5 billion, higher than the USD711 million surplus in October 2022.

“The BOP surplus in October 2023 reflected inflows arising mainly from the national government’s (NG) net foreign currency deposits with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the BSP’s net foreign exchange operations and net income from its investments abroad,” the central bank said.

Year-to-date, the BOP surplus reached US$3.2 billion, a turnaround from the US$7.1-billion deficit recorded in January to October 2022.

“Based on preliminary data, this development reflected mainly the improvement in the balance of trade alongside the higher net inflows from personal remittances, trade in services, and foreign borrowings by the NG (national government). Further, net inflows from foreign direct investments contributed to the surplus, albeit lower during the period,” the BSP added