MANILA — The Philippines posted its largest monthly balance of payments deficit in nearly five years in September, mainly due to the central bank’s foreign exchange operations and the government’s foreign debt payments, the central bank said on Friday.
September’s balance of payments (BOP) deficit of $2.7 billion, which was the highest since January 2014, brought the gap in the nine months ended September to $5.14 billion, more than thrice the central bank’s BOP deficit forecast of $1.5 billion for the full year.
The central bank attributed the nine-month deficit partly to the wide trade gap, as imports of raw materials and capital goods surged, in line with the government’s push to modernize and overhaul infrastructure.
The Philippines‘ trade deficit stayed well above $3 billion for the fifth month in a row in August as sustained purchases of capital goods to feed the government’s infrastructure overhaul kept import percentage growth at double-digits, outpacing exports.
The Philippines has been posting large trade gaps since last year, widening its current account deficit and adding pressure on the peso, which is among Asia’s worst performers this year. —Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri and Sherry Jacob-Phillips