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Gross debt increased by 22% in February.



Gross debt increased by 22% in February.

By means of Luisa Maria Jacinta C Jocson, News reporter

THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT Gross debt (NG) rose 22% in February, while domestic debt soared, the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) reported.

BTR data showed that total gross loans rose to P419.973 billion in February from P343.625 billion in the same month a year ago.

Month-on-month, gross loans more than doubled (106.7%) compared to P203.151 billion in January.

Nearly all of February’s gross loans (98.9%) came from domestic sources.

Gross domestic debt rose 26.7% to P415.232 billion this month from P327.641 billion a year earlier.

This consisted of P341.412 billion in retail government bonds (T-bonds), P60 billion in fixed-rate T-bonds and P13.82 billion in government bonds (T-bills).

On the other hand, gross external debt fell 70% to P4.741 billion in February from P15.984 billion in February 2023. External borrowings during the month consisted entirely of new project loans.

Michael L. Ricafort, chief economist of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., said borrowings were significantly higher in February due to the issuance of government bond (RTB) bonds.

The government raised a record amount of 584.86 billion euros from its oFto offer Ffive-year RTBs in February, exceeding the BTR’s P400 billion target.

Mr Ricafort also attributed the increase in borrowings to the broader budget deficit against the backdrop of high borrowing costs.

Separate data from the BTR showed that the NG budget theFThe icit rose 54.81% to P164.7 billion in February from P106.4 billion a year earlier, driven by a 22.14% increase in government spending.

“This increase in loans can be attributed to higher financing needs to support various government programs and initiatives, which cover the budgetFicits, local government debt management proFiles, and implementing subsidy measures due to inflation and El Niño,” said Security Bank Corp. Chief Economist Robert Dan J. Roces. in a Viber message.

Meanwhile, BTR data showed that gross loans fell 12% to P623.124 billion in the January-February period, compared to P710.488 billion last year.

External loans in the FThe first two months of the year fell 67% to P66.387 billion, compared to P203.547 billion in the same period a year ago. This consisted of P56.298 billion in program loans and P10.089 billion in new project loans.

Domestic debt stood at P556.737 billion, up 9.8% from P506.941 billion in the same period a year ago.

Broken down, this consisted of P341.412 billion in private T-bonds, P190 billion in FFixed rate T-bonds and P25.325 billion in T-bills.

For the coming months, Mr. Ricafort said that the upcoming global bonds oFfering could contribute to NG’s loans.

The Btr is Finternalizing the details of government Ffirst global bond issue this year, Treasury Secretary Ralph G. Recto said earlier. No details have been released.

“However, an important positive oFThe compensating factor would be the seasonal increase in tax revenues in April, which could help reduce the budgetFicit and NG debts,” he added.

Taxpayers have until April 15 (Monday) to do so Ffile their annual income tax returns with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). The agency is expected to collect $405.9 billion this month.

“The expectation of further loan increases this year depends on several factors, including the country’s economic growth, government budget and spending plans, market conditions and debt sustainability concerns,” Mr Roces added.

The government’s borrowing program is set at 2.46 trillion euros, of which 1.85 trillion euros in the domestic market and 606.85 billion euros in the domestic market. foreign sources, according to the latest data from the Budget of Expenditures and Sources of Financing.