BSP sees bigger BOP surplus

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    The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas yesterday said it has revised the 2020 balance of payment projections, with the current account now expected to yield a $6 billion surplus, taking into account the gradual recovery of a pandemic-ravaged economy.

    The BSP revised its current account projection to a surplus equivalent to 1.6 percent of gross domestic product, from a May forecast of a $1.9 billion deficit, or 0.5 percent of GDP, to reflect an expected narrower trade gap.

    It expects a current account surplus of $3.1 billion for next year, or 0.8 percent of GDP.

    The BSP said it now expects a BOP surplus of $8.1 billion this year, or 2.2 percent of GDP, significantly higher than the May projection of $0.6 billion, or 0.2 percent of GDP.

    It sees a BOP surplus of $3.4 billion, or 0.9 percent of GDP, for next year.

    The Southeast Asian country’s gross international reserves are expected to reach $100 billion by end-2020, higher than the May forecast of $90 billion, and rise to $102 billion next year.

    Exports are still projected to contract 16 percent this year, but will likely recover in 2021 with a 5 percent growth rate, the BSP said.

    However, imports are seen declining 20 percent this year, steeper than the previous forecast of an 18 percent drop, before rising 8 percent next year, it said.

    Despite the improved BOP outlook, however, the BSP warned that uncertainty remains “over the duration, direction and extent of the pandemic’s impact on the economy.”

    “The external sector outlook for 2021 reflects more favorable growth prospects as the global economy proceeds from an earlier restart of economic activity in the second half of 2020. Nonetheless, the balance of risks surrounding the outlook continues to lean toward the downside owing to possible resurgence in virus infections across countries as well as pandemic-induced structural changes in labor conditions and trade patterns,” BSP said.