THE country's gross international reserves (GIR) hit a new record of $48.4 billion in June on back of income from investment overseas and foreign exchange operations, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported Wednesday.

BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said the end of June preliminary GIR level is $738 million higher than the $47.65 billion in the previous month.

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"The increase in the end-June 2010 reserves was due mainly to foreign exchange inflows arising from the foreign exchange operations of the BSP and income from its investments abroad, foreign currency deposits from authorized agent banks, and revaluation gains on the BSP's gold holdings on account of the increase in gold prices in the international market," he said.

The GIR measures the total foreign exchange inflows to the country in a given month or year.

The BSP said the current GIR level is enough to cover nine months of imports of goods and payments of services and income.

It is also equivalent to 9.3 times the country's short-term external debt based on original maturity and 4.8 times based on residual maturity.

The BSP also reported that foreign investments rose by $335 million to $39.51 billion in June with central bank's gold holdings jumping to $6.86 billion from $6.67 billion last May.

Tetangco said the inflows were partly offset by payments for maturing foreign exchange debts of the national government and the BSP.

The government said the country's GIR level may soar past the $49 billion-level by the end of the year. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)