Overall BOP position posts $627-M surplus in March

MANILA -- The country`s overall balance of payments (BOP) position posted a surplus of USD627 million in March 2019, a reversal of the USD266 million BOP deficit recorded in the same month last year, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) disclosed in a statement on Wednesday.

Inflows in March 2019 stemmed mainly from the National Government`s (NG) net foreign currency deposits and the BSP`s foreign exchange operations and income from its investments abroad. These were partially offset, however, by the payments made by the NG for its foreign exchange obligations during the month in review.

On a cumulative basis, the BOP position for the period January-March 2019 posted a surplus of USD3.8 billion, a turnaround from the USD1.23 billion BOP deficit recorded in the first quarter of 2018.

The surplus may be attributed partly to remittance inflows from overseas Filipinos and net inflows of foreign portfolio investments (net BSP-registered transactions based on custodian banks` reports) for the first two months of the year, and net inflows of foreign direct investments in January 2019.

The reported BOP position reflected the final gross international reserves (GIR) level of USD83.61 billion as of end-March 2019.

At this level, the GIR represents a more than ample liquidity buffer and is equivalent to 7.4 months` worth of imports of goods and payments of services and primary income. It is also equivalent to five times the country`s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 3.5 times based on residual maturity.