THE NATIONAL Government’s (NG) gross borrowings declined by 16.5% as of end-January, the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) said.
Based on preliminary data from the BTr, total gross borrowings stood at PHP 366.86 billion in January, lower than the PHP 439.13 billion seen in the same period last year.
During the month, external debt accounted for a little over half or 51.13% of total gross borrowings.
Gross foreign borrowings doubled to PHP 187.563 billion in January from PHP 93.579 billion a year earlier.
Of the total gross foreign borrowings, dollar-denominated global bonds amounted to PHP 163.607 billion. The rest of the amount was from PHP 5.736 billion in new project loans and PHP 18.22 billion in program loans.
In January, the Philippine government raised USD 3 billion from its first US dollar bond issuance for the year, and the second under the Marcos administration.
Meanwhile, gross domestic debt fell by 48.1% to PHP 179.3 billion from PHP 345.551 billion in the previous year.
The BTr raised PHP 17.625 billion from Treasury bills and PHP 161.675 billion from fixed-rate Treasury bonds.
The government borrows from domestic and foreign sources to fund a budget deficit capped at PHP 1.47 trillion or 6.1% of gross domestic product (GDP) this year.
In January, the NG’s budget balance swung to a surplus of PHP 45.75 billion.
Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno on Friday said that the government is planning a retail dollar bond offering by next month.
“We plan to launch it maybe next month. We’re thinking along USD 2-3 billion. This will be treated as domestic debt. We are marketing this to our overseas Filipino workers and even residents in the country. You don’t even need to have a dollar account,” he told reporters on Friday.
“I’m confident it will get a good reception. It’s tax-free and it’s in dollars, so you don’t fear it will depreciate,” he added.
Proceeds from the bond offering will be used to finance the budget, Mr. Diokno said.
The Philippines’ last retail dollar bond sale was in 2021, when it raised USD 1.6 billion.
This year, the government plans to borrow PHP 2.207 trillion. Of this, PHP 1.654 trillion will be sourced domestically and the remaining PHP 553.5 billion will be borrowed from external sources. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson
This article originally appeared on bworldonline.com