BSP sees current account surpluses in 2020, 2021

Enrico Dela Cruz and Karen Lema, Reuters

Posted at Oct 14 2020 03:12 PM

MANILA - The Philippine central bank said on Wednesday it has revised the 2020 balance of payment projections, with the current account now expected to yield a $6 billion surplus, taking into account the gradual recovery of a pandemic-ravaged economy.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) revised its current account projection to a surplus equivalent to 1.6 percent of gross domestic product, from a May forecast of a $1.9 billion deficit, or 0.5 percent of GDP, to reflect an expected narrower trade gap.

It expects a current account surplus of $3.1 billion for next year, or 0.8 percent of GDP.

In a statement, the BSP said it now expects a BOP surplus of $8.1 billion this year, or 2.2 percent of GDP, significantly higher than the May projection of $0.6 billion, or 0.2 percent of GDP.

It sees a BOP surplus of $3.4 billion, or 0.9 percent of GDP, for next year.

The Southeast Asian country's gross international reserves are expected to reach $100 billion by end-2020, higher than the May forecast of $90 billion, and rise to $102 billion next year.

Exports are still projected to contract 16 percent this year, but will likely recover in 2021 with a 5 percent growth rate, the BSP said.

However, imports are seen declining 20 percent this year, steeper than the previous forecast of an 18 percent drop, before rising 8 percent next year, it said.

Despite the improved BOP outlook, however, the BSP warned that uncertainty remains over the duration, direction and extent of the pandemic's impact on the economy.