Philippines' BOP reverts to deficit in March

Posted at 04/21/14 4:24 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines' balance of payments position reverted to a deficit in March, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said on Monday.

"The BOP deficit for March was largely due to foreign-currency debt repayments of the national government and BSP's foreign-exchange operations,"BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. said.

The BOP deficit in March hit $336 million, a reversal of the $452 million surplus a year ago and the $345 million surplus in February.

The BSP said the BOP deficit for the first three months of the year is $4.47 billion.

"The cumulative deficit for Q1 stemmed principally from net outflows in foreign portfolio investments in market reaction to uncertainty over the pace of tapering of the Fed's quantitative easing measures," Tetangco said.

The BSP expects the country's BOP to yield a surplus of $3 billion this year, or 0.9 percent of GDP, compared with last year's $5.1 billion surplus.

The monetary authority forecasts the country's foreign reserves to climb to a record $88 billion at the end of 2014, from $83.2 billion at the end of 2013.

The central bank sees the current account surplus this year at $10.4 billion, or 3.3 percent of GDP, compared with the $9.4 billion surplus in 2013, or 3.5 percent of GDP.

The central bank expects cash remittances from overseas Filipinos to grow 5 percent this year. Remittances for all of 2013 climbed 7.4 percent from the previous year to a record $22.97 billion. - With Reuters