Coronavirus response-related borrowings raise govt. debt to ₱10.13T in November

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 6) — The country's outstanding debt hit ₱10.13 trillion as of end-November as the government borrows more to fund its coronavirus response.

On Wednesday, the Treasury bureau reported the latest figure is ₱106 billion more from that in October. The November debt stock surged by 31.4 percent compared to the same period in 2019, wherein the country incurred over ₱7.7 trillion in outstanding loans.

Higher domestic borrowing mainly drove the increase as loans to local sources reached ₱7.2 trillion with the net issuance of domestic government securities. Net Treasury bills reached ₱465.3 billion, Treasury Bonds at ₱631.7 billion and Retail Treasury Bonds at ₱738.5 billion.

This includes the ₱540-billion short-term credit from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to augment funds for pandemic spending.

In an online forum on Wednesday, BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno announced another ₱540-billion loan to the government to beef up the war chest against the contagious virus.

Meanwhile, external debt, which made up the remaining 29 percent of debt stock, went down by ₱8.19 billion in November compared to October. The peso's stronger performance offset net loan availments from sources abroad worth ₱2.55 billion, with currency adjustments logging a net effect of ₱10.74 billion.

External financing posted a ₱583.6 inflow within the period, with availments for project loans reaching ₱32.9 billion. Program loans, meanwhile, totaled ₱364.6 billion and offshore bond issuances hit ₱186.06 billion.

Still, the government's payment guarantees went down by ₱5.02 billion as of November, the latest total at ₱442.8 billion.

"The drop in the level of guarantees was due to the net repayment on both domestic and external guarantees amounting to ₱4.26 billion," said the bureau, adding the peso's appreciation versus the US dollar slashed its value of external guarantees by ₱1.4 billion.

The government turned to borrowing as it struggles with revenues from taxes and duties, which suffered from the lockdowns.

Data from the Budget Department earlier showed national debt would hit ₱10.16 trillion by the end of 2020.