Term deposit yields slip on demand for safe assets

THE BANGKO SENTRAL ng Pilipinas’ term deposits fetched lower yields on strong demand for safe assets due to fears of an extended lockdown. — BW FILE PHOTO

YIELDS ON THE central bank’s term deposits inched down on Wednesday on strong demand as the market flocked to safe-haven assets amid fears of an extended lockdown due to rising coronavirus infections.

Total bids for the term deposit facility (TDF) of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) amounted to P676.998 billion on Wednesday, surpassing the P550-billion offer as well as the P673.551 billion in tenders seen during last week’s auction.

Broken down, the seven-day papers attracted bids amounting to P249.888 billion, higher than the P150 billion offered by the BSP and also beating the P200.545 billion in tenders recorded last week.

Accepted rates for the tenor ranged from 1.675% to 1.7388%, a narrower band versus the 1.675% to 1.85% seen a week earlier. This caused the average rate of the one-week term deposits to slip by 2.63 basis points (bps) to 1.7113% from 1.7376% previously.

Meanwhile, demand for the 14-day papers amounted to P427.11 billion, above the P400-billion offer but lower than the P473.006 billion in bids seen during the previous week’s auction.

Lenders asked for yields ranging from 1.7% to 1.745%, slightly wider than the 1.71% to 1.7495% margin seen a week ago. With this, the average rate of the two-week term deposits decreased by 1.15 bps to 1.7274% from 1.7389% on Aug. 11.

The BSP did not offer 28-day term deposits for the 43rd straight auction to give way to its weekly offerings of bills with the same tenor.

The term deposits and the 28-day bills are used by the BSP to gather excess liquidity in the financial system and to better guide market rates.

TDF yields slipped as investors parked their funds in safe-haven assets due to the possibility of an extended lockdown as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the country continue to surge, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said.

Philippine vaccine czar Carlito G. Galvez, Jr., who is also the chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19, on Sunday said it was “still premature” to ease restrictions as cases continue to increase. The Palace has yet to announce new quarantine classifications, with current restrictions set to last until Aug. 20.

Business groups have opposed the idea of an extended lockdown, citing the economic losses from the restriction measures. Instead, they are hoping the government will intensify vaccination and boost its healthcare capacity.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua said the country is losing P150 billion in economic output for every week under strict lockdown. — L.W.T. Noble

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