Philippines Gross International Reserves Level


The country’s gross international reserves (GIR) level, based on preliminary data, rose by US$2.35 billion to US$93.29 billion as of end-May 2020 from the end-April 2020 level of US$90.94 billion. The month-on-month increase in the GIR level reflected inflows mainly from a) the National Government’s foreign currency deposits with the BSP of proceeds from its issuance of ROP Global Bonds, and b) the BSP’s foreign exchange operations. These inflows were partly offset, however, by the foreign currency withdrawals made by the NG to pay its foreign currency debt obligations.

The hefty level of GIR represents an external liquidity buffer which can cushion the domestic economy against external shocks. 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. As of end-May 2020, the current GIR level is equivalent to 8.4 months’ worth of imports of goods and payments of services and primary income.[1] Moreover, it can cover 7 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 4.6 times based on residual maturity.[2], [3]

Net international reserves (NIR), which refers to the difference between the BSP’s GIR and total short-term liabilities, likewise increased by US$2.34 billion to US$93.27 billion as of end-May 2020 from the end-April 2020 level of US$90.93 billion.