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Foreign portfolio investment transactions result in net outflows in March

Transactions for the month yielded net outflows of US$739 million, resulting from gross outflows of US$2.5 billion and gross inflows of US$1.7 billion. By instrument, net inflows of US$2 million was noted for Unit Investment Trust Funds (UITF) while net outflows were recorded for all other investment instruments: securities listed at the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE-listed securities: US$379 million); Peso government securities (Peso GS: US$361 million); and other portfolio instruments (less than US$2 million). 

Gross inflows increased by 22.8 percent from the US$1.4 billion figure in February 2019.  About 66.5 percent of investments registered during the month were in PSE-listed securities (pertaining mainly to holding firms, food, beverage and tobacco companies, property firms, banks, and transportation services companies); while 33.4 percent went to Peso GS and the 0.1 percent balance went to UITFs. The United Kingdom, the United States (US), Singapore, Luxembourg, and Hong Kong were the top five (5) investor countries for the month, with combined share to total at 80.3 percent.

Similarly, gross outflows for the month (US$2.5 billion) were higher compared to figures recorded for February 2019 (US$1.1 billion or by 130.8 percent). This may be attributed to large outflows from Peso GS amounting to US$939 million for March 2019 vis-à-vis the US$154 million recorded in February. The US continued to be the main destination of outflows, receiving 76.8 percent of total remittances.

Year-on-year, a 29.8 percent decline in gross inflows was noted from the US$2.5 billion level recorded during the same month last year, while gross outflows has increased by 84.9 percent from its US$1.3 billion level in March 2018.

Registration of inward foreign investments with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is optional under the liberalized rules on foreign exchange transactions.  The issuance of a BSP registration document entitles the investor or his representative to buy foreign exchange from authorized agent banks and/or their subsidiary/affiliate foreign exchange corporations for repatriation of capital and remittance of earnings that accrue on the registered investment.  Without such registration, the foreign investor can still repatriate capital and remit earnings on his investment but the foreign exchange will have to be sourced outside the banking system.

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