Government borrowing up 129% in 2017 at nearly P759 billion

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Government borrowing doubled in 2017 to its highest level in five years. -- BW FILE PHOTO

GOVERNMENT borrowing doubled in 2017 to its highest level in five years, according to the Bureau of Treasury (BTr).

Last year, total government borrowing was P758.93 billion, up 129%.

The record remains P866.86 billion, set in 2012. The 2017 level also exceeded the P631.29-billion borrowing target.

At the end of 2017, the government borrowed P731.36 billion from domestic sources, or 96% bringing local loans to about 96% of the total. Funds sourced externally amounted to P27.57 billion.

Domestic borrowing in 2017 grew 106%, while foreign borrowing turned net positive in 2017 from minus P24.113 billion in 2016.

The government borrows to finance its budget deficit and pay down debt.

In December, total debt amounted to P229.95 billion.

The largest portion of domestic borrowing was generated by two retail Treasury bonds (RTB) last year, raising P437.1 billion in March and November.

The government also raised P270.03 billion from auctions of Treasury bonds in 2017, up from P233.95 billion a year earlier. Meanwhile, P26.23 billion was raised from Treasury bills.

Foreign project loans hit P33.42 billion, up from P18.79 billion a year earlier. Program loans on the other hand amounted to P35.11 billion, sliding from P35.59 billion booked in 2016. — Karl Angelo N. Vidal