February forex reserves hit $81 billion


Posted at Mar 06 2015 05:40 PM | Updated as of Mar 07 2015 01:40 AM

MANILA – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said the country’s gross international reserves (GIR) increased to $81.34 billion in February, the highest since December 2013.

The increase was driven by foreign currency deposits of the national government, foreign exchange operations of the central bank, and its income from overseas investments

“The increase in reserves was due mainly to the National Government’s net foreign currency deposits and the BSP’s foreign exchange operations and income from investments abroad,” the BSP said.

“These were partially offset by revaluation adjustments on the BSP’s gold holdings arising from the decrease in the price of gold in the international market as well as on its foreign currency-denominated reserves, and payments made by the NG for its maturing foreign exchange obligations,” it added.

GIR reflects a country’s ability to pay for its imports and debt. In January, the country’s GIR was $80.72 billion.

BSP said forex reserves in February can cover 10.4 months’ worth of imports, and is equivalent to six times short-term foreign debt, residual maturity basis.

Net international reserves also increased $81.3 billion in February from $80.7 billion in January.

In 2014, total GIR was $79.54 billion, down from 2013's $83.19 billion.

The Philippines was the second fastest-growing economy in Asia after China in 2014, having gathered momentum in the final quarter of the year.

BSP Governor Amando Tetangco earlier said the central bank can afford to leave its policy settings on hold for most of this year, and the timing and magnitude of any interest rate hike would not be determined by the US Federal Reserve's actions. -- With Reuters