Phl to get credit rating upgrade: official
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - March 11, 2014 - 11:00pm

MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) - The could get a further credit rating upgrade as early as this year on the back of the positive outlook for the country's economy, an official of the local central bank said today.

"Given that one of the credit rating agencies has given us a positive credit outlook and given that Fitch Ratings will also provide some positive review after they came here, it's possible that the Philippines can have another upgrade," said Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor Diwa Gunigundo.

Gunigundo said Fitch Ratings has concluded its annual visit and assessment of the Philippines in February. Two other rating agencies are expected to visit the country within the first half of 2014.

Last year, the Philippines obtained investment grade ratings from three major credit rating agencies which cited the strength of the country's economy, improvement in governance and structural reforms put in place by the government.

Moody's was the last ratings agency to upgrade the Philippines' credit rating in October 2013. It also revised the outlook for the government debt rating to "positive." Gunigundo said this indicates that another upgrade may be in the offing for the country in the next 12 to 18 months.

He said the Philippines is deemed "better" by markets than other similarly-rated or higher-rated countries in the region.

Philippine economy grew by 7.2 percent last year while inflation averaged 3 percent. This year, the government has expressed confidence that it will be able to achieve its target of increasing gross domestic product (GDP) by 6.5 to 7.5 percent.

Aside from a sound banking system and a balance of payments surplus, the continuous decline in the debt to GDP ratio has contributed to the sanguine outlook for the Philippine economy.

Gunigundo noted that national government debt to GDP ratio has gone down to 49.2 percent in 2013, from 68.5 percent in 2005.


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