By Claire Jiao and Ditas Lopez
The Philippine central bank has helped finance almost half of the government’s local borrowings in the first seven months of the year, an unprecedented move that could keep debt yields low.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’s bond purchases of about 800 billion pesos ($16 billion) is equivalent to 45% of the government’s domestic borrowings as of end-July, according to Bureau of the Treasury data compiled by Bloomberg and confirmed by analysts including from Bank of the Philippine Islands.
About 500 billion pesos of the total purchases were in the secondary market, while the remainder was directly from the government. The Bureau of the Treasury didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking confirmation of the data.
There’s every likelihood the debt-purchase program could last beyond this year given the economy is mired in a recession, analysts including BPI’s Emilio Neri say. That should support Philippine local bonds, which are the top performers in emerging markets this year after Argentina with an 18% return.
The nation’s 10-yearyields have fallen to 2.77% from more than 5% in March, even as the government increased debt sales and projected a wider budget deficit.
“There’s no reason for rates to go up,” said Alan Atienza, treasurer at Philippine Bank of Communications in Manila. The central bank will probably continue to support peso bonds until the economy starts to show signs of a sustainable recovery, he said.
© 2020 Bloomberg L.P.