Monday, July 07, 2014

GIR forecast could be cut

GIR forecast could be cut
Business World

THE BANGKO SENTRAL ng Pilipinas (BSP) could lower its gross international reserves (GIR) forecast for this year, a senior official said.

Reserves at $83.2B as of August

"Given the uncertainty in the market, we have to be conservative," central bank Deputy Governor Diwa C. Guinigundo said.

"We're still looking at the numbers given the new developments, like we've seen how capital flows have started coming back. We need to consider that in our projections."

Mr. Guinigundo said the central bank was likewise looking at the performance of the business process outsourcing and tourism sectors, noting that "we need to consider all that market information."

The central bank expects foreign exchange reserves to hit $88 billion this year, up from last year's $83.19 billion.

But reserves have hovered just near the $80-billion mark since the start of the year, which authorities mainly attributed to costs arising from the BSP's foreign exchange operations.

The central bank intervenes in the foreign exchange market from time to time to smoothen movements in the peso's value against the US dollar.

Based on latest data, the country's GIR stood at stood at $79.957 billion as of end-May, slightly higher than the previous month's revised $79.844 billion but lower than the $81.967 billion registered a year earlier.

Foreign exchange reserves are made up of central bank assets held in different currencies, gold, and special drawing rights with the IMF, as well as foreign exchange deposits of the government and other state-run firms.

It is an indicator of a country's capability to pay for imports and service foreign debts.

The central bank considers the level of reserves adequate if it can finance three months' worth of imports or cover 100% of the country's foreign liabilities.

The end-May GIR is enough to cover 11.1 months' worth of imports and is also equivalent to 6.8 times the country's short-term external debt based on original maturity and 4.8 times based on residual maturity. -- B. F. V. Roc

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