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BSP: Foreign debt rising but still at 'prudent' levels.

The Philippines' external debt remains at prudent levels despite a slight uptick in the first quarter of the year, due mainly to additional borrowings by the government to fund the Duterte administration's infrastructure buildup program, the central bank said.

In a statement, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno said the country's outstanding external debt stood at $80.4 billion as of end-March 2019, up by $1.5 billion-or 1.9 percent-from $79 billion at the end of last year.

'The growth in the debt level during the first quarter was due mainly to net availments of $1.8 billion as the national government raised $1.5 billion from the issuance of global bonds to fund general financing requirements, and positive audit adjustments,' he said.

However, the rise in the debt stock was tempered by the increase in residents' investments in Philippine debt paper, including government bonds issued offshore.

Year-on-year, the debt stock likewise reflected an increase of $7.2 billion brought about by net availments ($9.2 billion, of which $3.8 billion was attributable to the national government) and adjustments for the prior periods of $960 million.

This upward impact on the debt stock was partially offset by the transfer of Philippine debt paper from nonresidents to residents ($2.3 billion, of which government bonds accounted for $1.9 billion), and negative foreign exchange revaluation adjustments of $740 million.

External debt refers to all types of borrowings by Philippine residents from nonresidents, following the residency criterion for international statistics.

As of end-March 2019, the maturity profile of the country's external debt remained predominantly medium- and long-term in nature-meaning, those with original maturity longer than one year-with share to total at 79.1 percent.

Short-term account, or those with original maturity of up to one year, comprised the 20.9- percent balance of debt stock.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Jun 17, 2019
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