Gov't plans $500-M addt'l foreign debt

Reuters

Posted at Apr 27 2011 07:28 PM | Updated as of Apr 28 2011 03:22 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The country may raise $500 million more in foreign debt sales this year to cover for an expected shortfall in official development assistance (ODA) loans in 2011, a senior finance official said on Wednesday.

Rosalia de Leon, head of the Finance Department's International Finance Group said the government may rely on a third local currency global bond and a dollar bond sale, or Samurai bond issue to bridge the ODA gap.

"Some ODA loans might slip to next year," de Leon told Reuters by phone.

A $500 million debt issue would bring Manila's foreign bond sales this year to $3.25 billion, higher than an original plan of $2.5 billion.

Total overseas borrowing, which includes official development loans, would remain at $4.5 billion this year, she said. Last year, Japan was the biggest ODA provider to Manila, government figures show.

Manila, one of Asia's most active issuers of sovereign debt in the offshore debt market, had raised $1.25 billion from the sale of local currency bonds in January and another $1.5 billion from a global bond offering in March.

The country's plans to tap the Japanese debt market were put on hold after a massive earthquake and tsunami struck the world's third-largest economy last month.

The Southeast Asian economy wants to narrow its fiscal shortfall to 3.2% of gross domestic product this year from 3.7% of GDP.