The country's full-year 2019 balance of payments (BOP) surplus reached US$7.84 billion, a turnaround from the US$2.31 billion BOP deficit recorded in 2018. Based on preliminary data, the surplus was supported by higher net receipts of trade in services, personal remittance inflows from overseas Filipinos, and sustained net inflows of foreign direct investments and portfolio investments.
Likewise, the overall BOP position posted a surplus of US$1.57 billion in December 2019, lower than the US$2.44 billion BOP surplus recorded in the same month last year. Inflows in December 2019 reflected the BSP's net foreign exchange purchases from its foreign exchange operations and income from its investments abroad, and increase in the National Government's (NG) net foreign currency deposits. These inflows were partially offset, however, by outflows representing payments made by the NG on its foreign exchange obligations during the month in review.
The BOP position reflects the final gross international reserves (GIR) level of US$87.84 billion as of end-December 2019. At this level, the GIR represents a more-than-ample liquidity buffer equivalent to 7.7 months' worth of imports of goods and payments of services and primary income. It is also equivalent to 5.5 times the country's short-term external debt based on original maturity and 4.3 times based on residual maturity.1,2
1 Short-term debt based on residual maturity refers to outstanding external debt with original maturity of one year or less, plus principal payments on medium- and long-term loans of the public and private sectors falling due within the next 12 months.
2 The preliminary data on GIR as of end-December 2019 was released to the public on 7 January 2020. Preliminary data are released every 7th of the month in the Statistics section of the BSP's website in compliance with the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS). If the 7th day of the month falls on a weekend or is a non-working holiday, the release date shall be the working day before the 7th. Meanwhile, the BOP position and final GIR data are published in the BSP's website every 19th day of the month. If the 19th day of the month falls on a weekend or is a non-working holiday, the release date shall be the working day nearest to the 19th.
Source: Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP)