MANILA,  January 10, 2004 (STAR) By Ted P. Torres - Foreign currency deposit units (FCDU) accounts lodged in the domestic banking sytem reached $13.06 billion as of mid-December 2003, growing by a substantial $87.98 million from a week ago as dollar remittances from overseas workers steadily stream in.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Deputy Governor for bank supervison and examination Alberto V. Reyes said the improvement in the FCDU accounts "reflects the stability" of the deposits especially the remittances of the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

Reyes expressed optimism that the figure would increase by year-end due to the continued entry of dollar remittances.

The BSP earlier reported that the country’s gross international reserves (GIR) – consisting of holdings of foreign exchange, gold, foreign investments and special drawing rights in the International Monetary Fund – reached $16.815 billion last year, breaching the government’s $15-billion target due to aggressive foreign borrowing in the last quarter of the year.

The end-December GIR would represent 4.7 months worth of imports and cover 1.5 times the country’s foreign obligations based on residual maturity.

The BSP closely monitors dollar remittances as the level provides the needed boost in the value of the peso versus the US dollar. Likewise, it represents a foreign currency source for the government as clearly shown during the 1997 financial crisis.

The BSP official said the slight depreciation of the peso against the dollar was due to a similar depreciation in the Japanese yen, higher demand for foreign currency from oil companies, and short covering by commercial banks.

NSO explains November export figures The Philippine Star 01/10/2004

The National Statistics Office (NSO) said yesterday that many of the exporters of electronic products registered declines in their export value in November last year, resulting in the overall drop in the sector’s export figures for that period.

The 10.3 percent decline in the exports of electronic products was mainly attributed to the 13.4-percent decrease on the value of exports of semiconductors. Semiconductors accounted for 65 percent of the total exports of electronic products and 44 percent of the total exports for November last year.

Only a few exporters of electronic products recorded increases on an annual basis.

Electronic products registered annual decreases during the first 11 months of 2003 except in January, March, September and October.

Semiconductors having the share of the electronic sector also declined during these months except in January, February, March, April, September and October.

While semiconductors registered a dip in its annual export value, the other items under electronic products like office equipment, reflected an increase of 59.2 percent automotive electronics, 22.2 percent; and consumer electronics, 1.7 percent.

On a monthly basis, exports of electronic products were down by 8.9 percent and semiconductors, by 15.6 percent. The biggest decrease of 52.2 percent was noted in medical and industrial instrumentation group.

Monthly movements of export values of electronic products during the first 11 months of the year showed negative rates except during the months of March, June, July, September and October. Similarly, semiconductors recorded decreases during these months and during the months of July and October.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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