MANILA — The national government ended 2022 with a total outstanding debt of P13.42 trillion while registering a slightly improved debt-to-GDP ratio due to the faster-than-anticipated economic growth, the Bureau of Treasury said on Thursday.
The debt total is 1.7 percent lower compared to the November 2022 level due to the appreciation of the peso, among others, while the full-year national government debt rose by 1.69 trillion or 14.4 percent, the BTr said.
Meanwhile, the country's debt-to-GDP ratio improved to 60.9 percent as of the end of 2022 from 63.7 percent in Q3, with the release of the full-year economic growth of 7.6 percent, the statement said.
Before the pandemic, a 60 percent debt-to-GDP ratio was considered high by global standards.
The improvement "reflects the consistent drive to bolster debt sustainability through prudent cash and debt management backed by resurgent economic growth," the BTr said.
"Going forward, faster growth in the economy, together with tax and other fiscal reform measures to further structurally increase tax revenue collections and combined with more disciplined spending would help further reduce/improve the debt-to-GDP ratio to below the 60 percent international threshold to help sustain the country’s favorable credit ratings at 1-3 notches above the minimum investment grade," RCBC Chief Economist Treasury Group Michael Ricafort said in a statement.
Ricafort, however, said the US$3 billion global bond issuance in January could add to the national government's debt stock.
Out of the total outstanding debt, P9.21 trillion are domestic borrowings while P4.21 trillion were external debt, data showed.