Philippine Finance Head Sees No Need to Borrow More Than Planned

Philippine Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said he doesn’t see a need for outsized government borrowings as he expects the economy to bounce back in 2021 amid a sustained reopening that’s been restoring jobs.

“We see no need to get out of the normal loan programs we have planned,” Dominguez said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. The finance chief also said he doesn’t see the necessity “at this point” for the government to add to its central bank borrowing.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas lent the government540 billion pesos ($11.2 billion) in September, immediately after the Bureau of the Treasury repaid the 300 billion pesos it borrowed from the central bank in March. The governmentcan borrow another 280 billion pesos from the central bank under a pandemic relief law signed in September.

The economy will perform better this quarter and a “big bounceback’ is expected in 2021, Dominguez said, predicting that a vaccine will be available by then. The pandemic has hit consumption in the Philippines as “people are still cautious, holding back spending,” he said.

The Philippines has had three consecutive quarters of contraction as movement curbs hit consumption. The damage on farms and infrastructure left by a string of strong typhoons over the past weeks could weigh on growth this quarter, even as the nation continues to ease virus restrictions amid Southeast Asia’s second-worst outbreak.

— With assistance by Ditas B Lopez, and Cecilia Yap

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