Monday, December 07, 2009

Nov forex reserves at record $43.73-B

MANILA - The Philippines' gross international reserves (GIR), its main buffer against foreign exchange shocks, hit a fresh record high in November.

According to preliminary data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the country's GIR grew to a record $43.73 billion last month from the October level of $43.173 billion, which was revised downward from $43.181 billion.

The increase in last month's GIR was due to revaluation gains on the central bank's gold holdings, income from its investments abroad, and inflows of government loans.

The latest GIR could cover 8.1 months worth of the Philippines' import requirements. The reserves are also equivalent to 9.2 times the country's short-term external debt based on original maturity and 4.2 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.

BSP Governor Amando Tetangco earlier said that the GIR could reach $42 to $43 billion by the end of this year, and $47 billion by the end of 2010.

He said money sent home by overseas Filipinos would also boost the country's foreign exchange reserves. Tetangco forecast remittances to grow 4% this year, higher than the BSP's previous forecast of flat growth from a record $16.4 billion in 2008.

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