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Portfolio investments to Philippines slump in March

MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) - Portfolio investments to the Philippines slumped in March, recording a net outflow of $395.14 million, the central bank reported today.

It was the first net outflow since June last year, when a net outflow of $7.69 million was registered, official data showed. The month's tally also was in contrast to the $183.74 million recorded the same period last year.

As for the first quarter though, foreign portfolio placements still surged by more than 134 percent to $1.09 billion, up from $464.45 million a year ago. The central bank has forecast a 3-billion-U.S.-dollar net inflow this year.

The central bank said in a statement the March shortfall was caused by "profit-taking" as a result of continued investor worries about the eurozone.

It did say however that the Philippines remained to be a favorite destination for portfolio investments, especially after debt watcher Fitch Ratings upgraded the country to investment grade on March 27.

Fitch raised the country's creditworthiness one notch to BBB- from BB+, citing improving fiscal discipline and strong external payments position.  

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