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End-July international reserves rise to $79.3-B

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MANILA – The country’s gross international reserves increased to $79.3 billion at end-July from the $76.1 billion in the first six months of the year, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said on Wednesday.

In a statement, the BSP said the seven-month GIR could cover 11.7 months worth of imports of goods and payment of services and income.

The end-July reserves level also could pay 10.7 times over the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity, or 6.4 times over based on residual maturity, which includes portions of long-term obligations that are due in no more than a year.

BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. said the increase in the GIR resulted from the foreign exchange operations of the central bank, its foreign investments abroad, foreign currency deposits by the Bureau of Treasury, and revaluation of the country’s gold holdings.

Excluding short-term obligations, the country’s net international reserves settled at $79.3 billion at end-July.

An ample GIR helps prop up the peso and keeps domestic inflation at bay.

Inflation hit a 6-month high of 3.2 percent last month, the National Statistics Office reported on Wednesday, bringing the year-to-date figure to 3.1 percent, still at the low end of the BSP’s full-year target range of up to 5 percent.

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