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Foreign debt of PH falls to $57b

Foreign debt of the Philippines shrank $1.3 billion or 2.4 percent to $57.7 billion in the third quarter from $59.1 billion a year ago, as the country settled its maturing debt and loans from Japan declined on weakening yen.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said the external debt also fell $375 million or 0.6 percent from the second-quarter figure of $58.1 billion. External debt refers to all types of borrowings by the government and Philippine residents from non-residents.

“The [quarter-on-quarter] decline resulted from negative foreign exchange revaluation adjustments ($1.1 billion) as the US dollar strengthened against most third currencies, particularly the Japanese yen. The full impact of this development was partly offset by the increased investments by non-residents in Philippine debt papers ($519 million) and net availments ($237 million),” the Bangko Sentral said.

“Looking at external debt indicators, these were observed to remain at comfortable levels at the end of the third quarter,” Bangko Sentral Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said in a statement.

Data showed the external debt ratio declined to 17.2 percent of gross national income in the third quarter from 17.6 percent in the second quarter and 18.3 percent a year ago.

Government’s public debt dropped to $40.7 billion in the third quarter from $41 billion in the second quarter while private sector debt declined to $17 billion from $17.1 billion.

The external debt portfolio remained predominantly medium to long term in tenor, with MLT accounts remaining at 83.5 percent.  Medium to long-term accounts are those with maturities longer than one year.

The Bangko Sentral said in terms of credit sources, the share of foreign holders of bonds and notes accounted for 37.5 percent of total, closely followed by official creditors (multilateral institutions and bilateral creditors) at 36.7 percent.

Foreign banks and other financial institutions accounted for 17.3 percent, with the rest or 8.5 percent by foreign suppliers and exporters.

The debt stock remained largely denominated in US dollar (53.7 percent), followed by Japanese yen (17.9 percent). Multi-currency loans from the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank comprised 13.4 percent of total, while the rest of the accounts or 15 percent were denominated in 18 other currencies.

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