February 25, 2018, 7:50 am
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BANKING INDUSTRY UPDATES

GIR settles at $81.35B
Preliminary data showed that the country’s gross international reserves (GIR) level stood at $81.35 billion as of end-September 2017.
Maria Almasara Cyd Tuaño-Amador, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Officer-in-Charge said this level was lower by $0.38 billion than end-August 2017 GIR of $81.73 billion but higher by $0.66 billion than the end-2016 level. 
The month-on-month decline in the GIR level was due mainly to outflows arising from the revaluation adjustments on the BSP’s gold holdings resulting from the decrease in the price of gold in the international market, payments made by the National Government (NG) for its maturing foreign exchange obligations, and foreign exchange operations of the BSP. 
These were partially offset by net foreign currency deposits by the NG and income from the BSP’s investments abroad.
The end-September 2017 GIR level can adequately cover 8.5 months’ worth of imports of goods and payments of services and primary income. 
It is also equivalent to 5.5 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 3.6 times based on residual maturity.
Net international reserves (NIR), which refer to the difference between the BSP’s GIR and total short-term liabilities, decreased by $0.38 billion to $81.34 billion as of end-September 2017, compared to the end-August 2017 NIR of $81.72 billion.

BSP: Don’t deface notes

The BSP reminds the public that it is unlawful to willfully deface, mutilate, tear, burn or destroy, in any manner whatsoever, currency notes and coins issued by the BSP, pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 247.

The reminder came out as a video of the burning of what appears to be Philippine banknotes.  The BSP is currently investigating this incident for appropriate action.
Under the law, any person who shall violate this Decree shall be fined in the amount of not more than P20,000 and/or imprisoned for a period of not more than five years. 

Moreover, no person or entity, may put into circulation notes, coins or any other object or document, which in the opinion of the Monetary Board of the BSP might circulate as currency, as stipulated under Section 50 of the New Central Bank Act. 

Likewise, it is prohibited to reproduce or imitate the facsimiles of Bangko Sentral notes without prior authority from the BSP. The BSP is authorized to investigate, make arrests, conduct searches and seizures in accordance with law, for the purpose of maintaining the integrity of the
currency.

“We wish to highlight that the general public should take pride in our Philippine banknotes that honor Filipinos who played significant roles at various moments of our nation’s history as well as depict the country’s world heritage sites and iconic natural wonders. The Philippine banknotes remain a constant reminder of our ancestors’ patriotism and bravery, as well as centuries of journey for a better future for our countrymen,” BSP, in a statement said.

The BSP enjoins the cooperation of the public in our commitment in maintaining the integrity of the Philippine currency. Any act of desecration of our Philippine currency by mutilating, defacing or burning, should be reported to the nearest police/law enforcement agencies, for appropriate action or to the Currency Issue and Integrity Office, BSP, at Telephone Numbers:  988-4833 and 926-5092.
Bond issuance rules amended

The Monetary Board (MB) approved amendments to pertinent regulations to streamline the requirements on the issuance of bonds and commercial papers by banks and quasi-banks (QBs).



The amendments include removal of the minimum bond features, such as the requirement on eligible collaterals, which may constrain banks and QBs from issuing debt securities. The revised regulation however reiterates compliance with the securities law and its implementing rules and regulations.
The new regulation aims to provide greater flexibility to banks and QBs in tapping the capital market as an alternative funding source.  This is also consistent with the initiatives of the BSP, together with other financial regulators, to spur the development of the domestic bond market.
 
Swap agreement signed

The Bank of Japan, acting as agent for the Minister of Finance of Japan, and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, signed the Restatement Agreement of the third Bilateral Swap Arrangement (restated BSA) which took effect last week. 

The BSA enables the Philippines to swap its local currency against Japanese yen, in addition to US dollars of up to $12 billion equivalent for the Philippines and $500 million for Japan.

The authorities of both countries believe that the strengthened bilateral financial cooperation will contribute to the stability of financial markets, promote the use of local currency including the Japanese Yen in Asia in the medium term, and thereby further develop growing economic and trade ties between the Philippines and Japan.
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