PH posts BOP deficit in Feb, first in 10 months
MANILA -- The country's balance of payments (BOP) deficit amounted to $960 million in February, a reversal of the surplus of $588 million recorded in the same month last year.
BOP surplus in the first two months of the year summed up to $ 1.083 billion, below the $1.452 billion in the same period last year.
The Philippine central bank expects this year's balance of payments surplus to narrow to $3 billion from $9.2 billion in 2012, as it expects stronger demand for its electronics exports to fuel an increase in imports of semiconductor parts.
The central bank's foreign exchange reserves shrank to $83.82 billion at the end of February from $85.27 billion a month earlier partly due to debt payments by the government and the revaluation of the central bank's gold holdings.
The central bank expects the country's foreign exchange reserves to climb to $86 billion at the end of 2013.
Although cash remittances from Filipinos abroad grew 8.0 percent in January from a year earlier to $1.68 billion, that was the lowest for a single month since February 2012. The central bank expects cash remittances to grow 5 percent this year from $21.39 billion in 2012.
The Philippines has attracted large capital inflows that fueled a surge in stocks and the peso, as investors bet on the country's strong economic fundamentals and the prospect of a credit ratings upgrade to investment-grade status this year.