Erle Frayne D. Argonza
Magandang gabi! Good evening!
It’s almost bedtime as I write this piece. I am currently listening to world music as I keep my fingers busy on my laptop, even as I am in a celebratory or positive mood after a nice productive day.
Let me genuflect on the reported all-time high gross international reserves or GIR by our central bank here. The latest figure is $48.8 Billion, which is sufficient to purchase ten (10) months worth of imports or so. The GIR has been largely shored up by upscaling exports and continuing high inflows of overseas remittances.
Such a figure would correct my earlier claim of $45 Billion+ in my previous essays on RP development updates. The errata was unintended, as I do have some memory slips sometimes (my figure is applicable to early 2009 yet).
I do appreciate very well the level of GIR of my beloved Philippines. We have always been financially struggling due to our perennial low forex for over five (5) decades since after our 1946 independence (from the USA’s colonial yoke). GIR levels have since been moving up at the turn of the century and millennium, indicative of a relatively healthy macro-economy that can withstand new recessionary rounds to come.
The country’s GIR is in keeping with the east Asian region’s healthy levels of GIR as a whole. This is good news altogether. Contrast our situation with those of the western countries’ more so the USA whose GIR can buy less than a month worth of imports or so.
The only cautionary note that I can make about the matter is that our GIR is largely made up of US dollars. An unsolicited advice to our monetary authorities is for us to adopt a ‘basket of currencies’ policy for our GIR.
The over-concentration on the dollar will make our monetary situation burn in the short-run should the forecast decline of the dollar take place in the financial markets. East Asia should by now carve out contingency measures to deal with the massive dumping of dollars that can happen in case that financial volatilities will lead to the forecast event.
Just the same, let me toast a glass of wine to my compatriots, both overseas and domestic Pinoys, for the latest feat of GIR ascent.
[Philippines, 09 July 2010]
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