The monthly average peso-dollar exchange rate slightly went down to 40.6723 in February, from 40.7295 in January. The peso remained strong compared to the US dollar in February. The year-on-year headline inflation rate rose to 3.4 percent in February from 3.0 percent in January. Based on the National Statistics Office Press Release, the increases are mainly because of the faster annual gain in the heavily-weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages index and the double-digit annual increment in alcoholic beverages and tobacco index. This also came from increases in the annual indices of furnishing, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house; communication; and recreation and culture commodities. Core Inflation rate also went up to 3.8 from 3.6 percent. The country’s gross international reserves (GIR) stood at US$83.6 billion as of end-February 2013, lower by US$ 1.6 billion than the end-January 2013 GIR of US$85.2 billion. According to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the decline in the reserves level was due mainly to payments for maturing foreign exchange obligations of the National Government (NG) and net foreign currency withdrawals by the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM). This level remains adequate to cover 12 months worth of imports of goods and payments of services and income.

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