By Lee C. Chipongian
The gross international reserves (GIR) went up to $82.13 billion in January from $79.19 billion in the previous month, a statement quoting Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Nestor A. Espenilla Jr. said.
The GIR inflows increased because of the following: net foreign currency deposits by the National Government (NG); the BSP’s foreign exchange operations; and revaluation gains from BSP’s gold holdings resulting from the increase in the price of gold in the international market.
The GIR also rose due to the BSP’s income from its investments abroad.
As of end-January, BSP’s managed foreign investments – part of GIR – amounted to $69.49 billion. Gold reserves was at $8.41 billion.
“However, the increase in reserves was partially tempered by payments made by the NG for servicing its foreign exchange obligations,” said the BSP.
The current reserves level is equivalent to 7.2 months’ worth of imports of goods and payments of services and primary income and up to 6.2 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 4.2 times based on residual maturity.
For 2019, the BSP expects a GIR of $77 billion.
The GIR ended 2018 at $78.46 billion in 2018, lower than the BSP’s original projection of $80 billion. In December, the projection was revised to $76 billion.