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Q1 external debt declines

The country’s outstanding foreign debt fell by 1.5% or $1.4 billion to $97 billion at the end of March from end-December, after the National Government redeemed maturing bonds and local banks settled their obligations, according to the Philippine central bank.

Year-on-year, the country’s debt stock rose by $15.6 billion after borrowings worth $13.5 billion by the government and private nonbanks, it said in a statement.

External debt refers to all types of borrowings by Philippine residents from nonresidents.

The country’s external debt stock remained at “prudent levels,” the central bank said. Gross international reserves stood at $104.5 billion as of end-March and represented 7.7 times cover for short-term debt based on the original maturity. — Beatrice M. Laforga

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