By Lee C. Chipongian
The country’s balance of payments (BOP) surplus reached $5.036 billion as of end-July, reversing same time last year’s deficit of $3.712 billion, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported Monday.
The July BOP position also reverted back to a surplus of $248 million after incurring a $404 million shortfall in June, the only month with a deficit BOP. The July surplus is also in contrast to the $455 million deficit in July 2018.
“Inflows in July were reflected in the BSP’s foreign exchange operations and
income from its investments abroad as well as in the National Government’s (NG) net foreign currency deposits,” said the BSP in a statement.
“These inflows were offset partially, however, by outflows which were
reflected in the payments made by the NG on its foreign exchange obligations during the month in review,” the BSPadded.
The January-July BOP surplus, in the meantime, was attributed partly to remittance inflows from overseas Filipinos during the first half of the year and net inflows of foreign direct investments during the first five months of the year, according to the BSP.
The central bank also released the final gross international reserves (GIR) number of $85.18 billion as of end-July. This represents a buffer stock that is equivalent to 7.4 months’ worth of imports of goods and payments of services and primary income. It is also 5.2 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 3.8 times based on residual maturity, the BSP said.
Last June, the BSP revised its BOP projections to a surplus position of $3.7 billion for 201 from the previous (November 2018) projection of a $3.5 billion deficit because of improved inflows and sustained favorable domestic growth outlook.
The BSP however estimates a higher current account shortfall of $10.1 billion for this year from its previous projection of $8.4 billion deficit.
The latest BOP surplus projection is equivalent to one percent of GDP while the current account deficit is 2.8 percent of GDP.
In 2018, the Philippines recorded a BOP deficit of $2.306 billion. The BOP in 2016 and 2017 were also in deficit positions.