The government borrowed 22 percent more in February primarily due to the issuance of Retail Treasury Bonds (RTBs) aimed at financing state projects.

Data from the Bureau of the Treasury showed that total borrowings in February increased by 22 percent to P419.97 billion, from P343.63 billion in obligations in the same period last year.

This was largely due to the nearly 30 percent rise in borrowings from local lenders to P415.23 billion from just P327.64 billion.

Broken down, bulk or 82 percent of the domestic borrowings at P341.41 billion was through RTBs. Same month last year, the government raised only P252.09 billion from a similar RTB issuance.

This was the third offering of RTBs under the Marcos administration to expand state coffers and finance various projects.

The RTB-30 was a five-year bond designed for retail investors as a low-risk and higher-yielding savings instrument.

Proceeds of the issuance were allocated to boost the country's agriculture, infrastructure, education and healthcare sectors, among others.

RTBs have been the strongest performing financial instrument in the Treasury's portfolio of bond offerings in the last two decades.

Apart from the RTBs, the government also borrowed P60 billion through fixed rate Treasury bonds, as well as P13.82 billion from short-term T-bills.

The remaining part of the borrowings in February at P4.74 billion were from foreign sources. This was 70 percent lower than the external debt in February 2023 which was at P15.98 billion.

The entire external financing was made up of project loans. There were no global bonds as well as program loans from multilateral institutions during the month.

For the two-month period, borrowings slipped by 12 percent to P623.12 billion from the P710.52 billion sourced in 2023.

This as offshore financing plummeted by 67 percent to P66.39 billion, which more than offset the 10 percent increase in domestic borrowings to P557.74 billion.

As of end-February, the government already used up 25.3 percent of the P2.46 trillion borrowing plan it crafted for the year.

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