Gov’t debt jumps to record P8.6 trillion in April 2020

Ralf Rivas
The Philippines' debt surges to levels not seen since the 2008 global financial crisis – and the government will likely borrow more during the coronavirus pandemic

METROPOLIS. The Metro Manila skyline, with Manila Bay on the right. Photo by Martin San Diego/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government’s outstanding debt rose to P8.6 trillion as of April 2020, as the country borrows more to fund the coronavirus pandemic response, according to data by the Bureau of the Treasury.

The figure is 1.5% or P122.89 billion higher than end-March 2020, primarily due to domestic securities issuance and external loan availments. Compared to April 2019, debt rose by 10.4%.

Year-to-date or from January to April, the Philippines’ debt grew by 11.2%, driven by the 5.1% increase in external debt and the 14.4% increment to domestic liabilities.

The double-digit rise in debt levels had not been seen since the 2008 global financial crisis.

Of the total outstanding debt stock, 33% were sourced externally (P2.73 trillion), while 67% are domestic debt (P5.86 trillion).

Foreign loans reached P1.14 trillion in April, 7.7% higher than in March.

The government’s debt is expected to rise even more. The Department of Finance earlier said the government secured around $5 billion in foreign loans from multilateral lenders and commercial markets as of mid-May.

So far, these are the loans per multilateral lender and funding source that Rappler was able to monitor as of early June:

The government’s economic team earlier announced they are prepared to increase debt levels in 2020 to support the economy.

The debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio is expected to breach 50%, while the budget deficit is projected to rise to 8.1% of GDP. –

Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.