Govt debt hits P7.4T in Jan

BY LISBET K. ESMAEL

HIGHER domestic and foreign loans drove the national government’s outstanding debt to rise further to P7.494 trillion in January, the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) said on Monday.

The amount, the Treasury bureau said in a statement, represented a 2.8-percent or P201.66-billion increase from P7.292 trillion in December and an 11.4-percent or P768-billion jump from P6.726 trillon a year ago.

“[This was] mainly due to net availments of both foreign and domestic loans amid efforts to take advantage of generally favorable market conditions to raise foreign and local funding,” it added.

Domestic borrowings accounted for the bulk, growing by 2.8 percent or P132.98 billion to P4.909 trillion from P4.775 trillion in December and by 10.8 percent or P479 billion from P4.429 trillion in January 2018.

Funds raised from foreign sources, meanwhile, climbed by 2.7 percent or P68.68 billion to P2.584 trillion from P2.516 trillion in the last month of 2018 and by 12.6 percent or P289 billion from P2.295 trillion year-on-year.

The increment in domestic debts was due to the net issuance of government securities worth P133.18 billion, while the increase in external debt was blamed on the P83.29-billion net availments of foreign loans.

“Meanwhile, the weakening of the dollar, on one hand, decreased the peso value of dollar-denominated debt by P19.24 billion; but on the other hand, increased the peso equivalent of third currency-denominated debt by P4.63 billion, thereby resulting in a net downward revaluation effect of P14.61 billion,” it explained.

A foreign exchange rate of P52.161 against the dollar was used for the latest data, compared with December’s P52.563.

Total national government obligations fell by 0.1 percent and 0.4 percent to P487.29 billion in January from P487.6 billion in December and P489.4 billion a year ago, respectively.

“Peso appreciation which lowered the local currency value of external guarantees by P2.22 billion and net repayment on domestic guarantees of P0.52 billion underpinned the decline,” the BTr said.

“However, this was partly offset by net availments on external guarantees of P1.40 billion and an upward revaluation of third currency-denominated guarantees by P1.04 billion,” it added.