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BOP: $3B

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MANILA, Philippines - The country's balance of payments (BOP) surplus went up by 25.3 percent in the first eight months of the year due to robust remittances from overseas Filipinos as well as strong foreign exchange inflows from investments, data released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported yesterday.


Data showed that the BOP position posted a surplus of $3.478 billion from January to August this year or $703 million higher than the surplus of $2.775 billion registered in the same period last year.


The BOP refers to the difference of foreign exchange inflows and outflows on a particular period and represents the country's transactions with the rest of the world.


BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. said the improved BOP position was registered in the first eight months of the year despite the 24.5 percent drop in BOP surplus to $40 million in August this year from $53 million in the same period last year.


"The BOP is relatively low for August as inflows from BSP's income and foreign exchange operations were offset by significant payments by the National Government of its maturing foreign exchange obligations," Tetangco stressed.


The country's BOP surplus plunged to $89 million in 2008 from $8.67 billion in 2007 due to the full impact of the global financial crisis. The BOP position recovered last year with a surplus of $5.295 billion. This year's surplus would stablize as the growth of imports would outpace the growth of exports.


The BSP's Monetary Board sees the country's BOP surplus hitting $3.7 billion instead of the original target of $3.2 billion due to robust foreign exchange inflows from the higher investment inflows, disbursement of official development assistance (ODA) loans from multilateral lending agencies, and the money sent home by Filipinos abroad.


As early as June, the original BOP surplus target of $3.2 billion set by the BSP for 2010 was already breached.


"Inflows from portfolio investments, remittances, and export receipts for the balance of the year are likely to result in continued surplus in the external position," Tetangco added.


Latest data showed that money sent home by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) went up by 7.1 percent to $10.679 billion in the first seven months of the year from $9.973 billion in the same period last year. The BSP has already upgraded its growth forecast for the amount of money sent home by overseas Filipinos to eight percent instead of six percent due to the strong demand for Filipino skilled workers.




Edited by Cary
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