The country's outstanding debt rose slightly to reach another record high of P14.35 trillion as of end-August as borrowings were affected by the depreciation of the peso during the month, according to the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr).

The amount was slightly higher by 0.7 percent than the P14.24 trillion a month earlier.

On a yearly basis, however, the debt stock picked up by 10.2 percent from P13.021 trillion.

For August alone, the government added some P105.28 billion in fresh obligations, primarily due to the weakening of the peso from 54.834 to 56.651 against the dollar.

The current debt pile is also about 98.1 percent of the expected P14.62 trillion debt by end-2023.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. chief economist Michael Ricafort said the new record-high debt level could be attributed to wider budget deficits amid elevated inflation that also bloated government expenditures.

This is also due to higher interest rates that raised borrowing costs, a weaker exchange rate that raised the peso equivalent of the government's foreign debts, and continued increase in infrastructure spending.

'For the coming months, new record highs for the outstanding national government debt is still possible in view of the upcoming dollar-denominated retail bond issuance that could reach more than $1 billion,' Ricafort said.

'This is on top of the scheduled issuances of peso-denominated government securities, all of which help finance the country's budget deficit, though offset by some maturing securities,' he said.

Meanwhile, the Treasury said the majority or 68.2 percent of the debt pile came from domestic sources and the remaining 31.8 percent was sourced externally.

Total domestic debt at P9.79 trillion slightly went down by 0.2 percent on a monthly basis due to large retail bond maturities. However, this jumped 9.5 percent from the P8.94 trillion in August 2022.

For August alone, domestic debt reached P229.29 billion with debt redemption of P253.43 billion, resulting in a net repayment of P24.14 billion.

This was partially offset by the P2.9 billion incremental value caused by peso depreciation on foreign currency- denominated domestic securities.

External obligations, on the other hand, increased by 2.9 percent to P4.56 trillion month-on-month. It rose 11.8 percent from P4.078 trillion on a yearly basis.

The peso depreciation against the dollar resulted in a P146.85-billion upward revaluation of dollar-denominated debt in August, although this was partially offset by the P22.11-billion downward revaluation of the third-currency debt component.

Net availment of foreign loans also added P1.78 billion to the external debt stock in August.

Meanwhile, total debt guaranteed obligations went up by almost one percent to P366.58 billion due to the net availment of domestic guarantees worth P2.44 billion and the P4.03 billion revaluation effect of peso depreciation on external guarantees, surpassing the P3.29 billion in repayments.

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