Keeping the Philippines’ economic fundamentals intact will pave the way for the quick recovery of the economy from the impact of the pandemic, the Philippine Department of Finance (DOF) executive said.
In an economic bulletin issued on Wednesday, Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran cited the USD614 million deficit in the country’s current account balance in the first quarter of 2021, a turn-around from the USD225 million surplus in the same period last year.
He attributed this to the recovery of imports, which expanded by 2.2 percent year-on-year in the first three months this year, and the 0.6-percent drop in exports.
Beltran also traced this development to the slower growth in the services trade surplus, lower primary income balance, and the continued inflows of remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
Amidst the recovery of imports, he said the local currency remained firm against the US dollar in the first quarter this year after averaging at PHP48.287, better than the PHP50.788 average in the previous quarter.
“Maintaining good fundamentals by keeping both the budget deficit and balance-of-payments manageable, keeping interest rates at the level that sustains investments, keeping inflation within the target range, and allowing the exchange rate to maintain its competitive level will allow the country to recover promptly as the country unrolls its vaccination program and gradually eases the lockdowns set up to battle the pandemic,” he added.