Philippines net portfolio outflows slow sharply in February


Posted at Mar 13 2014 06:28 PM | Updated as of Mar 14 2014 02:28 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Foreign portfolio investments continued to flow out of the country in February, but at a slower pace, data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas showed.

BSP data showed foreign portfolio net outflows slowed to $361.06 million in February, from $1.8 billion net outflow in January.

This marked the third month in a row that the Philippines saw a net outflow of "hot money."

Hot money investments are short-term placements which can easily be brought in or out of a country, such as stock market investments, government securities and peso time deposits.

The BSP attributed the lower inflows in February to the "investors' initial reaction to the tapering of the quantitative easing program in the United States starting January this year."

Gross foreign portfolio inflows in February reached $1.5 billion, up from the previous month's $1.3 billion, as favorable 2013 corporate earnings helped lure back investors.

Total outflows of $1.9 billion in February were significantly less than gross outflows of $3.1 billion in January. The United States continued to be the main destination of outflows, receiving 92.2 percent of total.

Almost 90 percent of the inflows went to the Philippine stock market and the rest to government bonds and peso time deposits.

The main stock index is up more than 9 percent so far this year, while the the peso has clawed back losses and is down just 0.4 percent against the dollar this year.

Most emerging Asian currencies have weakened this year as more evidence of a solid U.S. economic recovery strengthened expectations the Fed will keep reducing its monetary stimulus.

Registration of foreign investments with the central bank is voluntary, but is required if investors want to buy foreign currency to send out of the country. - With Reuters