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Philippines’ April budget surplus at fresh record

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Jacinto Ng (L), Asia United Bank (AUB) Corp chairman, leads the ceremonial ringing of the bell at the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), as Anita Ng (2nd L), PSE Chairman Jose Pardo (2nd R) and PSE official Vivian Yuchengco look on, in a financial district of Makati city, metro Manila May 17, 2013. Philippine lender Asia United Bank Corp jumped as much as 9.5 percent on its market debut on Friday after an oversubscribed public offer, the first listing since the country won investment rating upgrades from two agencies this year. (MNS photo)

Jacinto Ng (L), Asia United Bank (AUB) Corp chairman, leads the ceremonial ringing of the bell at the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), as Anita Ng (2nd L), PSE Chairman Jose Pardo (2nd R) and PSE official Vivian Yuchengco look on, in a financial district of Makati city, metro Manila May 17, 2013. Philippine lender Asia United Bank Corp jumped as much as 9.5 percent on its market debut on Friday after an oversubscribed public offer, the first listing since the country won investment rating upgrades from two agencies this year. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) — The Philippines’ budget surplus hit P36.8 billion in April, the highest level recorded for the month.

Data from the Department of Finance showed the April surplus exceeded the P32.8 billion program and is 19% higher than the year-ago surplus of P31.02 billion.

Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima attributed the increase in government’s budget surplus in April to the intensified tax collection efforts, particularly by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

“This most recent fiscal performance report is heartening to us, as it vindicates our belief that a drive for good governance and has tangible effects on our ability to raise revenues, resulting in more fiscal space towards our priority programs,” Purisima said.

For the January to April period, the deficit stood at P29.7 billion versus P2.9 billion a year ago.

The government adjusted this year’s budget deficit goal to P238 billion from P241 billion to reflect changes in the revenue targets of the Bureau of Internal Reveue, Bureau of Customs and programmed expenditures.

Manila spent P153.2 billion in April, up 25% from a year earlier, bringing total spending in the first four months of the year to P584 billion. The government has a spending program of P1.98 trillion in 2013.

Fitch Ratings delivered the Philippines’ first investment grade rating in March, citing a persistent current account surplus and an improved debt-to-GDP ratio, a move followed five weeks later by Standard & Poor’s.

The government wants to limit the budget deficit to 2.0 percent of GDP in 2013 through 2016, when President Benigno Aquino’s term ends.

The Philippines is planning to raise at least $500 million from the sale of 10-year U.S. dollar denominated bonds to local investors in the fourth quarter to meet its funding needs and create more demand for dollars.

The government has said it will source all of its borrowing requirements this year from the local debt market to help temper the peso’s appreciation against the U.S. dollar. (MNS)

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