National debt surpasses ₱10.7T as of end-March

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 3) — The country’s outstanding loans stood at ₱10.774 trillion as of end-March, as the government borrows more funds for its COVID-19 response.

Data from the Bureau of Treasury released on Monday shows the latest figure is up by ₱368 billion from the record high ₱10.4 trillion clocked the month prior. End-February’s tally likewise broke the all-time high of ₱10.33 logged in the first month of 2021.

End-March’s total is also higher by ₱2.29 billion from the amount posted the same month in 2020 at ₱8.47 billion, a 27.1% growth.

The Treasury mainly attributed the rise in total debt this March to the “net issuance of government securities” which also covered ₱411.79 billion in retail treasury bonds.

Domestic loans, which comprised 72% of the national debt stock, inched higher by 5.2% to ₱381.54 billion from February’s figure.

External debt, meanwhile, slightly slid down to ₱13.55 billion from the previous month’s level, or a 0.4% decline. The bureau said this is because of the “favorable net impact of both local- and third-currency fluctuations against the dollar.” These are worth ₱6.82 billion and ₱21.88 billion, respectively.

“These were more than enough to offset the net availment of foreign loans amounting to ₱15.15 billion,” it added.

The state’s payment guarantees likewise fell to ₱10.91 billion month-on-month, or a 2.4% decrease. The Treasury attributed this to the net redemption of local obligations of ₱4.84 billion and ₱1.69 billion in foreign obligations.

“Local- and third-currency exchange rate fluctuations further lowered the peso value of external guaranteed debt by ₱0.45 billion and ₱3.93 billion, respectively,” noted the Treasury.

The government has been availing loans from both domestic and foreign sources to help beef up its war chest against the COVID-19 health crisis, which has infected over a million Filipinos to date. State lending also covers the procurement of vaccines against the deadly disease.