Philippines’ external debt surges to $118.8 billion, public sector borrowings drive growth

The Philippines’ external debt reached $118.8 billion by the end of March, marking an 8.25% increase compared to the same period last year, according to data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

The rise in the debt stock was primarily driven by borrowings by the public sector to finance the National Government’s general financing needs, pandemic recovery measures, and infrastructure programs.

The current debt stock represents 29% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), higher than the figures reported at the end of December 2022 and March last year.

The BSP attributed the increase in the debt-to-GDP ratio to a statistical adjustment that included non-resident holdings of peso-denominated debt securities.

Despite the growth in external debt, the BSP noted that other key indicators remained manageable, and the country’s US dollar reserves stood at $101.5 billion as of end-March.