Jun 192013

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines still managed to post a balance of payments (BOP) surplus in May despite the start of a huge sell-off in the financial markets.

The country’s BOP — which measures all inflows and outflows — posted a surplus of $75 million last month, the lowest for the year, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported yesterday.

BSP officials could not be reached for comment.

A surplus indicates more than enough resources to meet external trade and debt obligations.

It brought the year-to-date tally to $1.884 billion, a wider surplus against the $1.302 billion in the same period last year.

Financial markets have slumped after reaching its peak last May 15, owing to investor concerns the US economy would scale down its stimulus measures soon.

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As a result, foreign portfolio investments — which record placements to bond and stock markets — plunged to a net outflow of $640 million in May, the highest on record.

Portfolio investments, together with foreign direct investments, feed in the capital account segment of the BOP.

While this portion was on the negative, BOP sourced strength from current account flows, which included remittances and exports.

BSP data showed remittances hit $6.916 billion as of April, up 5.7 percent.

Merchandise exports, meanwhile, went down 7.95 percent to $16.12 billion for the first four months.

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