BOP posts US$57 million deficit in August 2023

The country’s overall balance of payments (BOP) position posted a deficit of US$57 million in August 2023, lower than the US$572 million BOP deficit recorded in the same month last year. The BOP deficit in August 2023 reflected net outflows arising mainly from the National Government’s (NG) payments of its foreign currency debt obligations.

Notwithstanding the deficit in August, the cumulative BOP position registered a surplus of US$2.1 billion in the first eight months of the year, which was a reversal from the US$5.5 billion deficit recorded in the same period a year ago.

Based on preliminary data, this development reflected mainly the improvement in the balance of trade and the sustained net inflows from personal remittances, trade in services, and foreign borrowings by the NG.[1]

The gross international reserves (GIR) level decreased to US$99.6 billion as of end-August 2023 from US$100.0 billion as of end-July 2023.

The latest GIR level represents a more than adequate external liquidity buffer equivalent to 7.4 months’ worth of imports of goods and payments of services and primary income.[2]

Moreover, it is also about 5.7 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 3.9 times based on residual maturity.[3]

[1] Based on the preliminary data from the Philippine Statistics Authority’s (PSA) International Merchandise Trade Statistics (IMTS), the trade deficit for January-July 2023 reached US$32.2 billion, down from the US$35.8 billion deficit posted in the same period last year.

[2] Specifically, it ensures availability of foreign exchange to meet balance of payments financing needs, such as for payment of imports and debt service, in extreme conditions when there are no export earnings or foreign loans.

[3] 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.