PH outstanding loans rises to new ₱11.97-trillion high in October

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 1) — The Philippines’ outstanding debt stock rose to a new high as of end-October, with the government incurring more loans as the global health crisis rages on.

The Bureau of Treasury on Wednesday reported total outstanding loans of ₱11.97 trillion during the period, slightly surpassing the previous ₱11.91-trillion record set in September.

October’s figure represents a 19.38% increase from the ₱10.02 trillion tally in the same month last year.

The bureau reported ₱8.46 trillion in domestic loans for the month, rising by 19.65% annually with the net issuance of government securities. Debts incurred locally comprised 70.7% of total borrowings.

Meanwhile, the country’s external debt stock stood at ₱3.5 trillion as of end-October — 18.74% up from last year.

“For October, the lower figure for external debt was attributed to the impact of local and foreign currency exchange rate adjustments amounting to ₱22.68 billion and ₱8.45 billion respectively. This more than offset the net availment of external obligations amounting to ₱4.96 billion,” said the Treasury.

The government’s guaranteed payments, however, fell in October to ₱426.46 billion. The 4.77% drop was due to the net redemption of domestic guarantees of ₱1.24 billion and external guarantees at ₱800 million, the agency said.

The Treasury also cited the currency adjustment on both local- and third-currency denominated guarantees, yielding decreases of ₱1.28 billion and ₱2.25 billion respectively.

“However, the reclassification of the syndicated term loan of PSALM from domestic to external guarantee had a net adjustment effect of ₱1.55 billion to domestic guarantees,” it added.

Earlier this month, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon questioned the country’s ability to settle outstanding loans with total debt stock already equal to 61.3% of gross domestic product (GDP) as of end-September. The international threshold is at 60%. 

But President Rodrigo Duterte's economic team, through Senate Finance Committee chairman Sonny Angara, assured the debt-to-GDP ratio will be kept within the 60% range even as authorities avail of more loans while the economy further grows.

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