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Yields on term deposits drop on GDP data ahead of BSP review

YIELDS ON the central bank’s term deposits declined on Wednesday following the release of the first-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) data and ahead of the Monetary Board’s policy review where it was expected to keep benchmark rates steady.

Tenders for the term deposit facility (TDF) of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipiinas (BSP) amounted to P528.647 billion on Wednesday, higher than the P520-billion offer, but lower than the P583.062 billion in bids seen last week.

Broken down, demand for the seven-day term deposits reached P160.199 billion, surpassing the P150 billion auctioned off by the BSP and the P157.385 billion in tenders logged in the previous auction.

Accepted rates were from 1.7% to 1.745%, slightly narrower than the 1.7% to 1.7499% range logged a week ago. This caused the average rate of the one-week papers to inch down by 0.61 basis point (bp) to 1.7253% from 1.7314% previously.

Meanwhile, the two-week papers attracted tenders worth P368.448 billion, lower than the P370-billion offer as well as the P425.677 billion seen on May 5.

Lenders asked for yields ranging from 1.68% to 2.1999%, a wider range compared with the 1.7% to 1.76% band seen last week. With this, the 14-day paper’s average rate dropped by 0.94 bp to 1.7392% from 1.7486% previously.

For the 29th consecutive week, the central bank did not auction off 28-day papers to give way to its weekly offerings of bills with the same tenor.

Term deposits and the BSP’s short-term securities are used by the central bank to gather excess liquidity in the financial system and guide market rates.

The lower yields fetched for the term deposits on Wednesday reflected the market’s reaction to first-quarter Philippine GDP data released on Tuesday, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said in a text message.

The economy contracted more than expected in the first three months of 2021, extending the recession to five straight quarters as the pandemic dragged on, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed.

GDP fell by an annual 4.2% in the quarter ending March, worse than the median estimate of a 2.6% decline in a BusinessWorld poll last week.

This marked five consecutive quarters of GDP decline, marking the longest recession since the Marcos era when economic output shrank for nine consecutive quarters from the fourth quarter of 1983 to the fourth quarter of 1985.

Mr. Ricafort added that the decline in TDF yields also came ahead of the central bank’s policy meeting later on Wednesday.

A BusinessWorld poll last week showed 15 out of 17 analysts expected the central bank to keep the overnight reverse repurchase rate at 2% as the BSP continues to support the economy, even with inflation still beyond its 2-4% annual target.

Inflation stood at 4.5% for the second straight month in April mainly due to higher food prices particularly of meat products. — L.W.T. Noble

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