Companies based in the Philippines took out more than $5 billion in 2009 to repay their debt or lend to other companies abroad.
Rosabel Guerrero, director of Bangko Sentral’s economic statistics department, said Philippine banks and companies were profitable enough last year to prepay some of their loans and lend to other companies overseas.
“It was a common practice among banks,” she said, referring to lending to one another in times of difficulties.
Data from Bangko Sentral showed that the other investment account posted a net outflow of $5.1 billion in 2009, a turnaround from the $771-million net inflow in 2008.
Bangko Sentral Deputy Gov. Diwa Guinigundo said the outflow was a result of the transactions between daughter companies here and parent companies abroad.
The Philippines posted a net outflow in the other investment account because the local market did not have the same tightness that other countries experienced last year, he said.
“There were loans extended by resident companies to non-resident firms,” Guinigundo said.
Local banks posted net loan repayments amounting to $1 billion last year while private companies recorded $740 million.
This was evident in the latest external debt report released by Bangko Sentral, showing that private sector’s external debt went down by over $2 billion to $11.4 billion last year from $13.5 billion in 2008, as repayments by both bank and non-bank borrowers exceeded loan availments.
Foreign entities also had net withdrawal of currency and deposit placements from local banks in the amount of $134 million and from private local companies in the amount of $404 million.
Local banks extended loans totaling $2.2 billion to companies and banks based in other countries during the period.
If not for the outflow in the other investment account, the country’s current account surplus would have exceeded $10 billion last year and further pushed the value of the peso and the gross international reserves. –Roderick T. dela Cruz, Manila Standard Today