GIR breaches $100B as of end-March ’23–BSP


THE country’s gross international reserves (GIR) breached $100 billion as of the end of March 2023, according to preliminary data released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

Data showed the country’s GIR rose to $100.2 billion as of end-March 2023 from the end-February 2023 level of $98.2 billion.

“The latest GIR level represents a more than adequate external liquidity buffer equivalent to 7.5 months’ worth of imports of goods and payments of services and primary income,” BSP said.

Data showed this is about six times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 4.2 times based on residual maturity.

BSP said the GIR is viewed to be adequate if it can finance at least three-months’ worth of the country’s imports of goods and payments of services and primary income.

“The level of GIR, as of a particular period, is considered adequate, if it provides at least 100 percent cover for the payment of the country’s foreign liabilities, public and private, falling due within the immediate 12-month period,” BSP added.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said the GIR in March was among the highest in 9 months or since June 2022.

Ricafort said this was up from among the lowest in more than 2 years in recent months; higher by $1.999 billion month-on-month up for the 5th month in 6 months versus $98.216 billion in February 2023.

He said the country’s GIR picked up in recent months after the continued increase of the country’s structural US dollar/foreign currency inflows such as OFW remittances, BPO revenues, lower global crude oil, and other global commodity prices in recent months.

This may have also helped narrow the country’s trade deficit/net imports from record levels earlier in 2022, a notable continued recovery/increase in foreign tourism revenues that were almost not present 2-3 year ago.

“However, GIR still declined year-on-year by $7.093 billion or [a contraction of] 6.6 percent versus $107.309 billion a year ago or as of March 2022,” Ricafort said.

Meanwhile, the net international reserves also increased by $2 billion to $100.2 billion as of end-March 2023 from the end-February 2023 level of $98.2 billion.

The BSP said net international reserves refers to the difference between its reserve assets (GIR) and reserve liabilities.

Reserve assets and liabilities are short-term foreign debt and credit as well as loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The BSP’s reserve assets consist of foreign investments, gold, foreign exchange, reserve position in the IMF, and special drawing rights.