Philippine foreign debt stock declined to 59 billion U.S. dollars in the first quarter of this year, the central bank reported on Friday.
The tally for the first three months was down from 61.6 billion U.S. dollars in the same period last year and 60.3 billion U.S. dollars in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Central bank Governor Amando Tetangco Jr., in a statement, attributed the decline to the strengthening of the U.S. dollar during the period that caused debt in other currencies to dwindle in value.
"Major external debt indicatros remained at comfortable levels in the first quarter of 2013," Tetangco said.
External debt accounted for 22.8 percent of economic output in the first quarter, down from 26.9 percent a year ago.
The bulk of foreign debt held by the public sector was at 42.9 billion U.S. dollars, while the private sector owed 16.1 billion U. S. dollars.
External debt refers to all types of borrowings by Philippine residents from non-residents that are approved and registered by the central bank.