The Philippines' external debt rose above the $100-billion mark at the end of the first half as the government borrowed aggressively from overseas to fund its pandemic response, according to the central bank.
In a statement, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said the country's external debt stood at $101.2 billion at end-June this year, representing a $4.1-billion or 4.3 percent rise from the $97 billion recorded a quarter earlier.
"The rise in external debt was due to net availments of $3.8 billion, largely attributed to the national government as it raised $3 billion from the issuance of euro-denominated global bonds and Samurai bonds; and $1.3 billion from multilateral and bilateral creditors to fund the national government's general financing requirements and COVID-19 pandemic response programs," the BSP said.
Prior periods' adjustments of $977 million further contributed to the increase of the debt stock. Resident investments in Philippine debt paper issued offshore of $686 million partly mitigated the rise in the debt level.
Year-on-year, the country's debt stock rose by $13.7 billion brought about by net availments of $14.4 billion, mainly by the national government and private nonbanks; and positive foreign exchange revaluation of $205 million.
The uptick in the debt level was partly tempered by the transfer of Philippine debt paper from nonresidents to residents of $438 million; and prior periods' adjustments of $391 million.
Nonetheless, BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said the Philippines' outstanding external debt remained at a prudent level. INQ
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