PHL gov’t debt rises to P15.35T by end-May 2024

Photographer: Julian Abram Wainwright/Bloomberg via Getty Images

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

The National Government’s (NG) total outstanding debt reached P15.35 trillion at the end of May 2024, reflecting a 2.2% increase from the end-April 2024 level.

The rise, amounting to P330.39 billion, was primarily driven by the depreciation of the local currency, which affected the valuation of foreign-currency denominated debt. Of the total debt, 31.96% is external while 68.04% is domestic.

Domestic and External Debt

As of end-May 2024, domestic debt stood at P10.44 trillion, up by P134.34 billion or 1.3% from the previous month.

The increase resulted from a net issuance of government securities amounting to P131.66 billion and a P2.68 billion impact from peso depreciation on foreign-currency denominated domestic debt.

Since January, domestic debt has grown by P424.91 billion or 4.2%, with a year-on-year (YoY) expansion of P854.33 billion or 8.9%.

The NG’s external debt reached P4.90 trillion, a 4.2% increase from the end-April level.

The rise was driven by a net foreign loan availment of P122.04 billion and a P76.94 billion upward revaluation of US dollar-denominated debt.

Despite this, favorable third-currency movements provided a P2.94 billion downward revaluation effect. Overall, external debt increased by P306.42 billion or 6.7% since December 2023, and by P339.15 billion or 7.4% YoY.

Guaranteed Obligations and Budget Deficit

The NG’s guaranteed obligations decreased by P5.85 billion or 1.6% from the end-April 2024 level, totaling P350.20 billion by end-May 2024.

The reduction was due to net repayments on both domestic and external guarantees, amounting to P4.36 billion and P3.55 billion, respectively.

Additionally, third-currency adjustments against the US dollar reduced obligations by P0.62 billion, mitigating a P2.68 billion increase caused by peso depreciation.

The NG’s budget deficit surged to P174.9 billion in May 2024, marking a 43.10% increase from the previous year. This was due to an acceleration in government spending, which grew by 22.24%, outpacing revenue growth of 14.59%.

Consequently, the cumulative budget deficit for the first five months of 2024 widened to P404.8 billion, a 24.06% increase from the P326.3 billion recorded during the same period in 2023.

Revenue Performance

In May, the NG collected P382.1 billion in revenue, up by 14.59% or P48.7 billion from the same month last year.

Higher non-tax collections underpinned this growth, pushing year-to-date (YTD) collections to P1.9 trillion, surpassing the previous year’s performance by 16.34% or P260.2 billion.

Tax collections for January-May 2024 accounted for 85.59% of total revenues, amounting to P1.6 trillion, an 11.18% increase from the previous year.

Non-tax collections contributed 14.41% or P267.0 billion, up 60.58% from last year.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) collected P219.2 billion in May, net of P717.0 million in tax refunds. This net collection represented a 2.79% increase from last year due to higher tax collections on Value Added Tax (VAT), taxes on net income and profit, and miscellaneous tax.

BIR’s five-month collection of P1.2 trillion also saw a 12.81% improvement over last year.

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) collected P81.3 billion in May, net of P250.0 million in tax refunds, reflecting a 4.33% YoY increase.

The BOC’s enhanced revenue performance was attributed to stringent monitoring of import values and classifications, intensified border control, and improved trade facilitation.

Cumulative collections from January-May 2024 rose by 6.01% YoY to P380.9 billion.

The Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) reported a May income of P70.2 billion, more than double last year’s figure due to higher collections from interest on advances from GOCCs, guarantee fees, and the NG’s share from PAGCOR income.

YTD income reached P206.5 billion, surpassing last year’s level more than twofold due to higher dividend collections and interest on advances.

Government Expenditures

NG expenditures in May totaled P557.0 billion, a 22.24% increase from P455.7 billion a year ago. This rise was driven by capital outlay projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways, the Department of National Defense, and social and health programs by the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Department of Health.

Increased National Tax Allotment shares of LGUs and budgetary support to GOCCs also contributed. YTD expenditures reached P2.3 trillion, a 17.65% increase from the previous year.

Primary expenditures grew by 19.69% YoY to P495.9 billion in May. Total primary expenditures for January-May were P1.9 trillion, up 14.60% YoY.

Interest payments (IP) for May amounted to P61.1 billion, a 47.78% increase due to additional debt and higher interest rates. YTD IP reached P321.6 billion, a 40.08% increase from the previous year.

Primary Surplus/Deficit

Excluding interest payments, the NG’s primary deficit for May was P113.8 billion, a 40.71% increase from last year’s primary deficit of P80.9 billion. The cumulative primary deficit by end-May was 13.96% slower YoY.

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