Government debt reaches ₱7.3-T in 2018

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 30) — The government's outstanding debt reached ₱7.3 trillion last year, growing by 9.6 percent from ₱6.7 trillion in 2017 amid higher domestic and foreign borrowings.

In a statement Tuesday, the Bureau of Treasury (BOT) said the obligations went up by 1.35 percent or ₱97.48 billion month-on-month from ₱7.19 trillion as of end-November.

External borrowings accounted for the biggest chunk of the total debt, growing by 13.8 percent or ₱304.45 billion to ₱2.51 trillion from the same period in 2017.

Meanwhile, domestic debt was at ₱4.77 trillion or 7.6 percent higher than 2017. The increase in the onshore borrowings was due to the "net issuance of the government securities" and the depreciation of peso," BOT explained.

Despite the increase in the total debt stock, the agency said the debt-to-GDP ratio in 2018 went down to 41.9 percent from the prior year's 42.1 percent. The bureau said this is attributed to "moderate increment in debt as a result of prudent cash and debt management and steady economic growth." The economy expanded by 6.2 percent in 2018.

In December 2018, guaranteed obligations stood at ₱487.59 billion, or 2 percent higher that that of the same period in 2017.

National government debt was at ₱6.603 trillion by the end of 2016, when President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office. It was at ₱5.267 trillion in 2010, when former President Benigno Aquino III was elected, and at ₱4.645 trillion when former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was elected for a second term in 2004.