The Philippines’ gross international reserves (GIR) reached a record-high of USD87bn in 2019, said the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). The amount is enough to cover import and services payments for seven-and-a-half months. It is also equivalent to 5.6 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 4.1 times based on residual maturity.
Benjamin Diokno, BSP governor, said the central bank has successfully managed the balance of payments and gradually built up the GIR, providing enough of a buffer to meet foreign exchange demands and liquidity requirements. Diokno said laws aimed at strengthening the country’s international reserves, making changes to the BSP Charter, and regulating the organization of Islamic banks have helped boost the BSP’s capability to be more responsive to the needs of a fast-growing economy in a rapidly changing global financial environment.
The central bank said it expects the GIR level to increase to USD86bn this year, enough to cover almost seven months’ worth of imports. It added that strong inflows from robust receipts from BPO and tourism, sustained remittances, and steady inpourings of foreign investment continue to boost the GIR.