THE NATIONAL Government’s gross borrowings declined by 9.46% in the first quarter, the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) said.
Data from the BTr showed that gross borrowings dropped to P979.762 billion in the January-to-March period, from P1.08 trillion in the same period a year ago.
For the first three months of the year, domestic debt accounted for 69.88% of total gross borrowings.
Gross domestic debt decreased by 19.37% to P684.658 billion in the first quarter, from P849.117 billion a year ago.
Broken down, this consisted of P366.675 billion from fixed-rate Treasury bonds, P283.763 billion from retail Treasury bonds, and P34.22 billion from Treasury bills.
Meanwhile, external gross borrowings rose by 26.64% to P295.104 billion from P233.022 billion.
This consisted of P163.607 billion in global bonds, P105.731 billion in program loans, and P25.766 billion in new project loans.
In March alone, gross borrowings fell by 59.72% to P237.602 billion from P589.888 billion in the same month in the previous year.
Month on month, gross borrowings went down by 36.68% from P375.245 billion in February.
In March, domestic borrowings accounted for 61.47% of the total.
Gross domestic borrowings stood at P146.045 billion, falling 68.15% from P458.566 billion a year ago.
During the month, the BTr raised P135 billion from fixed-rate Treasury bonds and P11.045 billion from Treasury bills.
Meanwhile, external debt was down by 30.28% to P91.557 billion in March, from P131.322 billion in the same month in 2022.
External borrowings in March consisted of P87.511 billion from program loans and P4.046 billion from new project loans.
Union Bank of the Philippines, Inc. Chief Economist Ruben Carlo O. Asuncion said the continued economic reopening helped reduce the need for borrowings.
“We have seen in the data that total revenue intake has largely improved since the economy has reopened,” Mr. Asuncion said in a Viber message.
The National Government’s budget gap narrowed by 14.51% to P270.9 billion in the first quarter. Revenues increased by 4.38% to P818.7 billion as tax revenues rose by 3.13% to P719.5 billion.
“Further reopening of the economy towards greater normalcy reduced government spending on COVID-related programs,” Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said in a Viber message.
This year, the government plans to borrow P2.207 trillion, consisting of P1.654 trillion from domestic sources and P553.5 billion from foreign sources. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson