MANILA, Philippines - Debt watcher Standard & Poor's Ratings Services (S&P) handed the Philippines its second investment-grade rating on Thursday.
The Philippines' credit rating went up one notch to BBB- from BB+, with a stable outlook. This is the second investment grade rating of the country, following Fitch's upgrade to the same level last March 27.
"The upgrade on the Philippines reflects a strengthening external profile, moderating inflation and the government's declining reliance on foreign currency debt," S&P credit analyst Agost Benard said in a statement.
â€œWe are very pleased that S&P, along with Fitch, has also now affirmed the Philippinesâ€™ strong economic and fiscal gains,â€ Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said, adding that the investment grade rating â€œis another resounding vote of confidence on the Philippines.â€
Purisima added that â€œgood governanceâ€”tuwid na daanâ€”is bringing structurally sustainable growth for the Philippinesâ€ and that â€œthe Philippine Government will continue to focus on infrastructure development, on creating a larger fiscal space to support social investments, and on further opening up the economy.â€
For his part, Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said the S&P upgrade â€œundoubtedly cements the Philippinesâ€™ status as an economy with one of the brightest prospects globally.â€
â€œWith our investment grade rating, we are more confident that these inflows, particularly of more FDIs, will swing towards increasing the countryâ€™s productive capacity, thereby generating more employment and higher incomes,â€ he said.
The Aquino administration has made it its goal to reach investment grade status this year in a bid to lure more foreign investments and lessen debt interest payments and free up more resources for public projects.