THE NATIONAL Government’s gross borrowings declined by 9.46% in the first quarter, the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) said.
Data from the BTr showed that gross borrowings dropped to PHP 979.762 billion in the January-to-March period, from PHP 1.08 trillion in the same period a year ago.
For the first three months of the year, domestic debt accounted for 69.88% of total gross borrowings.
Gross domestic debt decreased by 19.37% to PHP 684.658 billion in the first quarter, from PHP 849.117 billion a year ago.
Broken down, this consisted of PHP 366.675 billion from fixed-rate Treasury bonds, PHP 283.763 billion from retail Treasury bonds, and PHP 34.22 billion from Treasury bills.
Meanwhile, external gross borrowings rose by 26.64% to PHP 295.104 billion from PHP 233.022 billion.
This consisted of PHP 163.607 billion in global bonds, PHP 105.731 billion in program loans, and PHP 25.766 billion in new project loans.
In March alone, gross borrowings fell by 59.72% to PHP 237.602 billion from PHP 589.888 billion in the same month in the previous year.
Month on month, gross borrowings went down by 36.68% from PHP 375.245 billion in February.
In March, domestic borrowings accounted for 61.47% of the total.
Gross domestic borrowings stood at PHP 146.045 billion, falling 68.15% from PHP 458.566 billion a year ago.
During the month, the BTr raised PHP 135 billion from fixed-rate Treasury bonds and PHP 11.045 billion from Treasury bills.
Meanwhile, external debt was down by 30.28% to PHP 91.557 billion in March, from PHP 131.322 billion in the same month in 2022.
External borrowings in March consisted of PHP 87.511 billion from program loans and PHP 4.046 billion from new project loans.
Union Bank of the Philippines, Inc. Chief Economist Ruben Carlo O. Asuncion said the continued economic reopening helped reduce the need for borrowings.
“We have seen in the data that total revenue intake has largely improved since the economy has reopened,” Mr. Asuncion said in a Viber message.
The National Government’s budget gap narrowed by 14.51% to PHP 270.9 billion in the first quarter. Revenues increased by 4.38% to PHP 818.7 billion as tax revenues rose by 3.13% to PHP 719.5 billion.
“Further reopening of the economy towards greater normalcy reduced government spending on COVID-related programs,” Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said in a Viber message.
This year, the government plans to borrow PHP 2.207 trillion, consisting of PHP 1.654 trillion from domestic sources and PHP 553.5 billion from foreign sources. — By Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson