MANILA : The Philippine central bank on Friday revised its current account surplus projection for this year to US$3.5 billion, or 0.9per cent of the gross domestic product, down substantially from a June forecast of US$10 billion, or 2.5per cent of GDP.
It now projects next year's current account to switch to a deficit of US$1.4 billion, or 0.3per cent of GDP, instead of the previous forecast of a US$6.7 billion surplus equivalent to 1.5per cent of GDP, figures presented at a media briefing showed.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said the latest projections took into account "downside risks" that continue to build up, underpinned by the emergence of highly transmissible COVID-19 variants.
"The lingering uncertainty continues to cast a shadow on external sector prospects over the near term as the direction and duration of the pandemic remains little known," it said in a statement.
The balance of payments this year is now projected to yield a surplus of US$4.1 billion, or 1.1per cent of GDP, down from the previous forecast of a US$7.1 billion surplus, or 1.8per cent of GDP.
For 2022, the BOP surplus is seen narrowing to US$1.7 billion, or 0.4per cent of GDP, lower than the previous forecast of US$2.7 billion, or 0.6per cent of GDP.
The BSP also lowered its projections for end-2021 and end-2022 gross international reserves to US$114 billion and US$115 billion, from US$115 billion and US$117 billion, respectively.
The revisions reflect the BSP's "more guarded" outlook for the global economy and developments at home, including the downscaling of this year's GDP growth target https://www.reuters.com/article/philippines-economy-idUSL1N2PP0IM, said Zeno Ronald Abenoja, managing director at the central bank' Department of Economic Research.
(Reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz; Editing by Martin Petty)