The country’s third-quarter balance of payment (BoP) surplus — a measure of the country’s transactions with the rest of the world — continued to post a surplus worth $2.8 billion, more than three times the surplus a year earlier.

“The increase in the BoP position was underpinned by the reversal to a surplus of the current account, attributed mainly to the narrowing of the trade in goods deficit as imports of goods recorded a higher decline than exports of goods,” the BSP said.

The central bank traced the slowdown in merchandise trade to sustained risks and uncertainties during the pandemic.

This brought the nine-month BoP surplus to $6.9 billion, 24% higher than a year earlier. A surplus means more funds entered the economy.

The central bank kept its forecasts for cash remittances at a 2% decline this year and 4% growth next year as it expects improving global conditions, further reopening of sectors and the arrival of vaccines to benefit overseas Filipino workers’ employment prospects.

Foreign direct investments are projected to rebound with inflows of $7.5 billion, while foreign portfolio investments are expected to reach $3.5 billion in 2021 “in line with the consensus view of a recovery in investment sentiment given better global and domestic economic prospects next year,” the BSp said.

The outlook for the gross international reserves was raised to $105 billion by year-end from $100 billion estimated earlier. It also expects reserves to continue rising next year to $106 billion, up from the previous forecast of $102 billion. — Beatrice M. Laforga

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