MANILA, April 17 (Xinhua) -- The Philippines' overall balance of payments (BOP) position posted a surplus of 627 million U.S. dollars in March 2019, a reversal of the 266 million U.S. dollars BOP deficit recorded in March 2018, the Philippine central bank said on Wednesday.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said inflows in March 2019 stemmed mainly from the national government's net foreign currency deposits and the BSP's foreign exchange operations and income from its investments abroad.
These were partially offset, however, by the payments made by the national government for its foreign exchange obligations during the month in review, the BSP added.
On a cumulative basis, the BSP said the BOP position for the period January to March 2019 posted a surplus of 3.8 billion U.S. dollars, a turnaround from the 1.23 billion U.S. dollars BOP deficit recorded in the first quarter of 2018.
The surplus may be attributed partly to remittance inflows from overseas Filipinos and net inflows of foreign portfolio investments, net BSP-registered transactions based on custodian banks' reports, for the first two months of the year, and net inflows of foreign direct investments in January 2019, the BSP said.
The reported BOP position reflected the final gross international reserves (GIR) level of 83.61 billion U.S. dollars as of end-March 2019.
At this level, the BSP said the GIR represents a more than ample liquidity buffer and is equivalent to 7.4 months' worth of imports of goods and payments of services and primary income.
"It is also equivalent to five times the country's short-term external debt based on original maturity and 3.5 times based on residual maturity," the BSP said.