President Marcos took out slightly more loans last year to finance the government’s operations and projects.

Based on the Bureau of the Treasury’s data, the national government’s gross borrowings increased by 1.4 percent to P2.193 trillion between January and December 2023 from P2.163 trillion in the previous year.

However, the actual borrowings were 0.6 percent lower than the administration’s full-year target of P2.206 trillion

The Treasury report indicated that the increase was mainly due to higher foreign financing despite decreased borrowings from local banks.

Total domestic market financing dropped by 0.5 percent, or P9 billion, to reach P1.634 trillion in 2023, from P1.643 trillion in 2022. This is also below the P1.653 trillion target.

The majority of local borrowings, making up 71.9 percent, were in the form of fixed-rate Treasury bonds, with the government issuing P1.175 trillion worth of these IOUs last year.

Furthermore, the government engaged small Filipino investors by issuing P252.1 billion in retail Treasury bonds (RTBs) in February 2022.

Additional sources of borrowing included P119.5 billion raised through Treasury bill sales, P71.78 billion from retail onshore dollar bonds, and the introduction of tokenized bonds in November, which raised P15 billion for the government.

Foreign borrowings, on the other hand, posted a 7.5 percent increase last year, reaching P559.03 billion from P520.1 billion in the previous year. The amount is also above the P553.5 billion program.

According to the Treasury report, program loans made up 36.5 percent of the government’s external financing, totaling P204.3 billion, followed by project loans amounting to P135.85 billion.

Moreover, the Marcos administration raised funds through the issuance of P163.6 billion in global bonds and P55.29 billion in Islamic bonds.

Last week, the Treasury reported that the national government registered a reduction in the budget deficit last year, with revenues growing significantly faster than expenditures.