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NG’s gross loans decline in March



NG's gross loans decline in March

By means of Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson, News reporter

THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT (NG) Gross loans fell in March, while foreign debt fell by almost half, data from the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) shows.

Gross loans fell 12.8% to P207.265 billion in March from P237.602 billion in the same month a year earlier.

BTR data showed gross external debt fell 44.4% to P50.87 billion during the month from P91.557 billion a year ago.

This consisted of P39.137 billion in program loans and P11.733 billion in new project loans.

On the other hand, domestic debt rose 7.1% to P156.395 billion from P146.045 billion in March 2023. This accounted for more than three-quarters or 75.5% of total gross loans during the month.

Broken down, domestic loans consisted of P120 billion in fixed-rate government bonds and P36.395 billion in Treasury bills.

In the first quarter, gross loans fell 12.4% to P830.389 billion from P948.09 billion a year ago.

Gross domestic loans stood at P713.132 billion during January to March, up 9.2% from P652.986 billion a year ago.

Domestic debt, which accounted for 85.9% of total loans, consisted of P341.412 billion in government bonds (RTBs), P310 billion in treasury bonds Ffixed-rate government bonds and P61.72 billion in treasury bills.

On the other hand, gross external loans fell 60.3% to P117.257 billion in the period ended March from P295.104 billion a year ago.

This consisted of P95.435 billion in program loans and P21.822 billion in new project loans.

Michael L. Ricafort, chief economist of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., said the decline in loans in March may be due to the RTB issuance in February.

“That could have brought forward some of the borrowing needs for March 2024,” he said in a Viber message.

In February, the government raised a record amount of 584.86 billion euros from its oFto offer Ffive-year RTBs.

Mr Ricafort also noted that the first quarter since then was down year-on-year there were no global bond issues.

In January 2023, the government raised $3 billion from issuing US dollar bonds.

Treasury Secretary Ralph G. Recto has said the Treasury is at a standstill Finternalizing its details Ffirst global bond oFoffer this year.

Ruben Carlo O. Asuncion, chief economist at Union Bank of the Philippines, said the decline in gross debt is likely an indicator of the NG’s fiscal consolidation.Fforts.

“However, this can also mean modesty Fiscal stimulus for the period,” he added.

Before April, Mr Ricafort said the seasonal increase in tax collections would boost the government’s cash position.

“(This) could help the Fiscal position in terms of a narrower budget theFThat could at least lead to a possible budget surplus for this month, a consistent pattern that has been visible for years,” he added.

The deadline for filing annual income tax returns was April 15. The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is expected to collect about P406 billion during the month.

Separate BTR data showed the budget deficit fell 6.82% to P195.9 billion in March. For the Ffirst quarter, the FThe financial gap widened by 0.65% to $272.6 billion.

This year, the ceiling for the budget deficit has been set at 1.48 trillion euros, equivalent to 5.6% of gross domestic product.

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