Overseas Exchange Transactions for September 2019

Lower receipts following high level of transfers receipts last month


Overseas Exchange Transactions
Net Change to Foreign Reserves (TOP$ millions)

  Month Ended Year Ended
  Sep 19
Aug 19
Jul 19
Jun 19
Sep 19
Sep 18


Overall balance
-0.9 -1.1 8.6 16.0 38.7 49.1
Net Current Account
-12.7 -1.4 0.4 19.8 5.3 1.7
Net Capital Account
1.7 1.2 0.2 9.1 36.1 37.9
Net Financial Account 10.1 -0.9 8.0 -12.9 -2.7 9.5
Foreign Reserves Levels 490.8 491.8 492.9 484.3 490.8 452.2

Sources: Banking system | National Reserve Bank of Tonga

Overall Balance & Foreign Reserve

The balance of Overseas Exchange Transactions recorded a deficit of $0.9 million in September 2019, slightly improving from a $1.1 million deficit in August 2019. The monthly movement was attributed to a significant decline in total receipts by $13.5 million (19.5%) to $55.9 million. Total payments also fell by $1.8 million (2.7%) to $63.2 million which is higher than the total receipts during September 2019. In year ended terms, the overall balance surplus fell by $10.5 million to $38.7 million in September 2019. Total OET payments increased by $10.4 million for imports and offshore investments, coupled with lower total receipts by $26.9 million driven by the fall in receipts for inter-bank transfers, professional services, and both official and private capital receipts.

The official foreign reserves was at $490.8 million in September 2019 equivalent to 8.0 months of imports cover. A $1.0 million decline over the month was due mainly to payments of external debts. Annually, foreign reserves increased by $38.6 million as a result of higher receipts of budget support, grants, and project funds from development partners. Furthermore, remittance receipts from family and friends abroad also contributed to the higher foreign reserves.

On the outlook, the Reserve Bank continues to expect the level of foreign reserves to remain at comfortable levels, and above 3 months of imports cover in the upcoming months. However, external debt repayments, implementation of infrastructure projects, and expected transfer of offshore investments pose a risk to the foreign reserves outlook. Global uncertainties in oil and commodity prices are also risks to these expectations.

Current Account

The current account deficit widened in September 2019 following the high level of private transfer receipts last month for remittances and funds to non-profit organizations. Total current account receipts declined by $13.4 million as receipts for exports, services, income and transfers all fell over the month. In addition, income payments rose for interest payments on government loans contributing to the current account deficit.

The income account recorded a $2.0 million deficit over the month was attributed to higher payments, a total of $3.6 million whilst income receipts was a total $1.5 million. The monthly rise in income payments were for interest on government loans, a total of $3.3 million. The transfers account surplus declined by $9.6 million mainly due to lower receipts by $10.8 million during the month. Both private and official transfer receipts fell by $9.0 million and $1.8 million respectively. These were due to lower remittance receipts, donations to non-profit organizations, and government funds for budget support and project funds. Transfers payments also declined over the month by $1.2 million.

On the other hand, the merchandise trade deficit improved by $0.8 million due to a $2.1 million fall in import payments over the month. Payments for wholesale & retail goods declined the most by $3.3 million followed by motor vehicle and construction material import payments. However, payments for oil and government imports rose by $1.7 million and $1.4 million, respectively. Total export proceeds also lowered over the month by $0.1 million as a consequence of lower proceeds from both agricultural exports and marine exports which outweighed a $0.2 million rise in receipts from other exports.

The service account surplus slightly increased by $0.3 million in September 2019 as services payments declined by $2.0 million, more than the $1.8 million fall in services receipts. Lower service payments were mainly for freight and travel allowance. Service receipts fell over the month led by a $1.8 million decline in travel receipts coinciding with a 7.6% (795 passengers) decline in international air arrivals.

In year ended terms, the surplus in the current account increased by $3.6 million to $5.3 million. Although the merchandise trade deficit widened over the year, this was outweighed by the improvement in the surpluses recorded for the services, income, and transfer accounts. The services account surplus increased by $13.2 million due mainly to higher travel receipts by $23.4 million. The income account surplus improved by $4.5 million due to the decline in income payments by $4.0 million. Payments for dividends and profits to overseas investors fell by $3.2 million (24.6%), while payments for other wages and salaries also declined by $1.0 million (34.9%) over the year.

Moreover, the transfers account surplus slightly grew by $3.3 million (0.9%) and was attributed mainly to the official transfers account surplus which rose over the year by $5.8 million, as the official transfer payments fell by $4.9 million. Private transfer receipts (including private remittances & non-profit organizations) rose by $2.2 million, annually. Meanwhile payments for family support and transfers to own account rose by $4.7 million. However, the payments for imported government goods, wholesale & retail goods, motor vehicles, and oil altogether rose by $18.5 million driving the higher merchandise trade deficit. This coincided with a rise in business container registrations recording an increase of 1,697 containers (26.4%) indicating growth in the trade sector.

Capital Account 

The surplus in the capital account slightly rose by $0.5 million over the month mainly driven by the higher surplus in the official capital account. Official capital receipts increased by $0.9 million to $1.1 million with no official capital payment recorded for the month. The private capital receipts declined by $0.4 million coupled with a $0.1 million rise in payments has lowered the private capital account surplus by $0.5 million to $0.6 million. These transactions are for government-funded projects and households construction purposes by individuals (including non-profit organizations).

Annually, the capital account surplus lowered by $1.9 million to $36.1 million, holding the highest surplus in the overall OET balance. The lower surplus was due to a decline in receipts by Government for investment projects and capital expenditures (for construction purposes), and private capital transfers over the year to September 2019.

Financial Account

After a $0.9 million deficit recorded in the financial account last month, a $10.1 million surplus was noted in September 2019. This was driven mainly by movements in other investment which are mainly interbank transfers. Direct investment receipts slightly rose by $0.1 million while portfolio investments continued to record no receipts.

Over the year, the financial account recorded a $2.7 million deficit compared to a surplus in the previous year. This was largely owed to lower inter-bank receipts, offshore investment transfers and the principal repayment of the Government loan to EXIM Bank of China.


Overseas Exchange Transactions Releases

Overseas Exchange Transactions Releases for 2019


pdfIcon September
Released on 13 March 2020 | 181 KB
   

pdfIcon July
Released on 6 December 2019 | 157 KB
pdfIcon August
Released on 20 January 2020 | 256 KB

pdfIcon May
Released on 1 October 2019 | 243 KB
pdfIcon June
Released on 17 October 2019 | 274 KB 

pdfIcon March
Released on 3 July 2019 | 155 KB
pdfIcon April
Released on 29 July 2019 | 247 KB

pdfIcon January
Released on 18 June 2019 | 152 KB
pdfIcon February
Released on 21 June 2019 | 158 KB

2018


pdfIcon November
Released on 5 April 2019 | 144 KB
pdfIcon December
Released on 1 May 2019 | 143 KB

pdfIcon September
Released on 25 February 2019 | 143 KB
pdfIcon October
Released on 25 February 2019 | 143 KB

pdfIcon July
Released on 23 November 2018 | 150 KB
pdfIcon August
Released on 27 December 2018 | 154 KB  

pdfIcon May
Released on 15 August 2018 | 337 KB
pdfIcon June
Released on 4 October 2018 | 148 KB 

pdfIcon March
Released on 7 June 2018 | 174 KB
pdfIcon April
Released on 15 August 2018 | 333 KB

pdfIcon January
Released on 16 May 2018 | 179 KB
pdfIcon February
Released on 29 May 2018 | 174 KB 

2017


pdfIcon December
Released on 19 March 2018 | 300 KB
pdfIcon November
Released on 2 February 2018 | 285 KB

pdfIcon October
Released on 25 January 2018 | 272 KB
pdfIcon September
Released on 27 December 2017 | 476 KB

pdfIcon August
Released on 27 November 2017 | 458 KB
pdfIcon July
Released on 16 October 2017 | 264 KB

pdfIcon June
Released on 16 October 2017 | 259 KB
pdfIcon May
Released on 15 August 2017 | 262 KB

pdfIcon April
Released on 10 July 2017 | 268 KB
pdfIcon March
Released on 28 June 2017 | 270 KB

pdfIcon February
Released on 28 June 2017 | 367 KB
pdfIcon January
Released on 21 June 2017 | 307 KB

2016


pdfIcon December
Released on 21 June 2017 | 314 KB
pdfIcon November
Released on 21 June 2017 | 303 KB

pdfIcon October
Released on 3 April 2017| 479 KB
pdfIcon September
Released on 28 March 2017| 493 KB

pdfIcon August
Released on 14 February 2017| 492 KB
pdfIcon July
Released on 9 November 2016 | 467 KB

pdfIcon June
Released on 5 September 2016 | 630 KB
pdfIcon May
Released on 10 August 2016 | 615 KB

pdfIcon April
Released on 30 June 2016 | 617 KB
pdfIcon March
Released on 7 June 2016 | 613 KB

pdfIcon February
Released on 17 May 2016 | 634 KB
pdfIcon January
Released on 10 May 2016 | 621 KB

2015


pdfIcon December
Released on 22 April 2016 | 670 KB
pdfIcon November
Released on 22 April 2016 | 658 KB

pdfIcon October
Released on 29 January 2016 | 494 KB
pdfIcon September
Released on 27 January 2016 | 518 KB

pdfIcon August
Released on 8 January 2016 | 288 KB
pdfIcon July
Released on 22 December 2015 | 312 KB

pdfIcon June
Released on 9 December 2015 | 554 KB
pdfIcon May
Released on 6 October 2015 | 630 KB

pdfIcon April
Released on 15 July 2015 | 653 KB
pdfIcon March
Released on 3 June 2015 | 672 KB

pdfIcon February
Released on 10 April 2015 | 385 KB
pdfIcon January
Released on 3 June 2015 | 741 KB

2014


pdfIcon December
Released on 16 February 2015 | 471 KB
pdfIcon November
Released on 16 February 2015 | 441 KB

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