The government’s gross borrowings was almost flat at P213.121 billion at the end of the first quarter as the decline in foreign borrowings tempered the increase in local debt, the latest Bureau of the Treasury data showed.
The national government’s borrowings from January to March rose by a mere 0.1 percent from P212.922 billion a year ago.
Gross external borrowings declined to P124.939 billion from P126.27 billion during the first three months of last year.
Of the foreign borrowings, the bulk or P99.566 billion were from the global bonds exchange while P17.96 billion were from program loans and P7.413 billion from project loans of multilateral lenders.
In January, the Philippine government sold $500 million in 25-year bonds while also successfully switching $1.5 billion in previously issued bonds to fund the higher infrastructure spending requirement of the Duterte administration.
The bonds maturing in 2042 were sold at a coupon of 3.7 percent, similar to the record-low rate last year.
The new money raised from the offshore bond issuance would be used for budgetary support, the Treasury had said.
As for domestic borrowings from the sale of treasury bills and bonds, the first-quarter gross amount of P88.182 billion increased from P86.652 billion a year ago.
Gross borrowings for 2017 had been programmed to reach P631.294 billion.
With domestic interest rates remaining relatively low, the Duterte administration would want to finance its programmed wider budget deficit equivalent to 3 percent of the gross domestic product in the next six years through a borrowing mix of 80-percent local and 20-percent foreign.
Infrastructure build up forms part of the Duterte administration’s 10-point socioeconomic agenda aimed at slashing the poverty incidence to 14 percent by 2022 from 21.6 percent last year. —BEN O. DE VERA
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