MANILA – The Philippines’ balance of payments (BOP) deficit widened to US$994 million in the first quarter of the year, the fifth consecutive month of being in negative territory.
Data released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Wednesday showed that the first-quarter figure is higher than end-February’s $445-million deficit due to the $550-million deficit last March alone.
The March 2017 BOP position is a reversal from the $854-million surplus in the same period last year while the end-March level this year is higher than the $210-million deficit same quarter in 2016.
Balance of payments is defined as the sum of a country’s total transactions with the rest of the world at a given time.
Monetary officials have attributed the developments in the country’s BOP position to negative external developments, such as expectations of more increases in the Federal Reserve rates.
Another factor is the strong rise of the country’s exports on higher domestic requirements as the domestic economy continues to expand.
However, BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo earlier said the improved outlook of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the global economy is a welcome development.
Other factors seen to support the recovery of the country’s BOP position is the improvement of the country’s exports, which rose by 11 percent last February from the 4.5 percent contraction in the same month last year.