THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT’S (NG) gross borrowings jumped to P375.245 billion in February, amid a spike in domestic borrowings, the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) said.
Data from the BTr showed that gross borrowings in February surged by 606% from P53.121 billion in the same month a year ago.
Month on month, gross borrowings inched up by 2.3% from the P366.863 billion recorded in January.
In February, domestic debt accounted for 95.7% of total gross borrowings.
Gross domestic borrowings increased by 698% to P359.261 billion in February, from P45 billion in the same month in 2022.
During the month, the BTr raised P283.711 billion from retail Treasury bonds (RTBs), P70 billion from fixed-rate Treasury bonds, and P5.55 billion from Treasury bills.
Meanwhile, external borrowings almost doubled to P15.984 billion in February from P8.121 billion in the same month in 2022. External borrowings were made up solely of new project loans.
For the first two months of the year, gross borrowings jumped by 50.8% to P742.108 billion, from P492.251 billion in the same period a year ago.
Gross domestic debt rose by 37.9% to P538.561 billion in the January-to-February period, from P390.551 billion a year ago.
External gross borrowings doubled to P203.547 billion in the two-month period from P101.7 billion.
Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said that the higher borrowings were mainly due to government bond offerings in February.
In February, the government raised P283.711 billion from its offering of five-and-a-half-year RTBs.
Mr. Ricafort said inflation also affected government expenditures, leading to more borrowings.
Inflation slowed to 8.6% in February from 8.7% in January.
“Higher interest rates and borrowing costs also increased the government’s debt servicing, thereby also leading to more borrowings,” Mr. Ricafort added.
The government paid P47.831 billion for debt servicing in January, lower by 77.8% year on year.
For 2023, the government allocated P1.6 trillion for debt payments, higher by 23.3% than last year’s P1.298-trillion program.
“For the coming months, around May or in the second quarter, government borrowings could again increase in view of the upcoming dollar and/or euro-denominated retail bonds,” Mr. Ricafort said.
National Treasurer Rosalia V. de Leon earlier said that the government is looking to launch a retail dollar bond offering in May.
The offering has a target size of $1.5 billion for 5.5-year debt papers, Ms. De Leon said.
This year, the government plans to borrow P2.207 trillion. This consists of P1.654 trillion from domestic sources and P553.5 billion from external sources. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson