BSP's forex swaps down at end-2008

Reuters

Posted at Feb 02 2009 09:55 AM | Updated as of Feb 02 2009 05:59 PM

The holdings of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) foreign exchange through forward swaps fell 78.4 percent to $2.32 billion at end-2008 from $10.76 billion at end-2007 as authorities defended the falling peso last year.

The BSP's forward swap holdings, which serve as a foreign exchange buffer for the country as these represent additional foreign reserves when the swap contracts are unwound, have deteriorated from a peak of about $13 billion in January 2008, official data showed.

Risk averse investors pulled out of the Philippines and other emerging markets in the second half of last year as the global economy slowed down sharply and major economies fell into recession.

But the central bank's forward swaps at end-December were nearly 46 percent higher than $1.59 billion at end-November, indicating the central bank built up some of foreign exchange liquidity as strong inflows of remittances from Filipinos living and working overseas boosted the peso last month.

All of the central bank's swaps at end December were placed in forwards with one-month maturity compared to the same 2007 period when its placements were spread from one month to up to one year maturity, data from the central bank website showed.

The country's gross international reserves were at a revised $37.551 billion at the end of December, slightly higher than $36.828 billion the previous month.