Philippine Cbank Tempers Outlook, Cuts 2021 c/a Surplus Forecast
It now projects next year’s current account to switch to a deficit of $1.4 billion, or 0.3% of GDP, instead of the previous forecast of a $6.7 billion surplus equivalent to 1.5% of GDP, figures presented at a media briefing showed.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said the latest projections took into account “downside risks” that continue to build up, underpinned by the emergence of highly transmissible COVID-19 variants.
“The lingering uncertainty continues to cast a shadow on external sector prospects over the near term as the direction and duration of the pandemic remains little known,” it said in a statement.
The balance of payments this year is now projected to yield a surplus of $4.1 billion, or 1.1% of GDP, down from the previous forecast of a $7.1 billion surplus, or 1.8% of GDP.
For 2022, the BOP surplus is seen narrowing to $1.7 billion, or 0.4% of GDP, lower than the previous forecast of $2.7 billion, or 0.6% of GDP.
The BSP also lowered its projections for end-2021 and end-2022 gross international reserves to $114 billion and $115 billion, from $115 billion and $117 billion, respectively.
The revisions reflect the BSP’s “more guarded” outlook for the global economy and developments at home, including the downscaling of this year’s GDP growth target, said Zeno Ronald Abenoja, managing director at the central bank’ Department of Economic Research.
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(Reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz; Editing by Martin Petty)