P23 billion savings in debt payments in 2008

MANILA – The Philippines saved P23 billion in debt payments last year as a result of the continued strengthening of the peso against the US dollar and lower-than-programmed interest rates.

According to Bangko Sentral data, the peso appreciated 3.76 percent to average 44.4746 to $1 in 2008 from 46.1484 in 2007. The 91-day T-bills — used by banks in pricing their loans — averaged 5.39 percent last year from 3.410 percent in 2007.

On the other hand, Bureau of Treasury reports the government spent P612.7 billion to service both foreign and domestic obligations in 2008, or P23.4 billion lower than the programmed amount of P636.1 billion. The amount was also P1.4 billion lower than the P614.1 billion debt paid by the Philippines in 2007.

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