MANILA - The Philippines' gross international reserves (GIR) level slightly declined to $98.8 billion as of the end of July, data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas showed.
Reserves were at $101.98 billion in June, also a decline from $103.65 billion in May, according to previous central bank data.
The latest GIR level represents a more than adequate external liquidity buffer equivalent to 8.3 months' worth of imports of goods and payments of services and primary income, the BSP said in a statement.
It is also about 6.9 times the country's short-term external debt based on original maturity and 4.5 times based on residual maturity, it added.
"The month-on-month decrease in the GIR level reflected mainly the National Government’s (NG) foreign currency withdrawals from its deposits with the BSP to settle its foreign currency debt obligations and pay for its various expenditures, and downward adjustment in the value of the BSP’s gold holdings due to the decrease in the price of gold in the international market," the BSP said.
BSP Governor Felipe Medalla earlier said the reserves serve as the country's "safety net" for any unexpected global headwinds.
The "hefty" GIR level earlier helped the Philippines respond swiftly to the COVID-19 pandemic, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said.