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Foreign reserves hit $80.3b in September

The country’s gross international reserves rose slightly to $80.315 billion in September from $80.255 billion in August and $79.6 billion a year ago, as Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas increased its foreign exchange operations.

Bangko Sentral Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo said in a statement there was also an improvement in the national government’s net foreign currency deposits in September.

“These foreign exchange inflows were partially offset by payments made by the national government for its maturing foreign exchange obligations and revaluation adjustments on the Bangko Sentral’s gold holdings and foreign currency-denominated reserves,” Guinigundo said.

He said the end-September reserves level remained ample to cover 10.3 months’ worth of imports of goods and payments of services and income.

It was also equivalent to 6.1 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 4.4 times based on residual maturity.

Short-term debt based on residual maturity refers to outstanding external debt with original maturity of one year or less, plus principal payments on medium- and long-term loans of the public and private sectors falling due within the next 12 months.

Data showed the value of the Bangko Sentral’s gold holdings last month fell to $7.014 billion from $7.150 billion in August. Foreign investments stood at $70.589 billion, down from $70.614 billion a month ago.

Net international reserves, which refer to the difference between the Bangko Sentral’s GIR and total short-term liabilities, increased by $60 million to $80.31 billion as of end-September compared to the end-August NIR of $80.25 billion.

GIR stood at $79.540 billion as of end-2014, lower than $83.187 billion in 2013.

Bangko Sentral said in May it was expecting reserves to hit $81.6 billion by end-2015, a downward revision of the $83-billion target made in October last year, taking into account the volatilities in the global financial markets.

Bangko Sentral said the sustained strong current account surplus, following the downward revision in international oil prices would eventually boost the reserves.

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