By Prinz Magtulis (philstar.com)
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.
“We are very pleased that S&P, along with Fitch, has also now affirmed the Philippines’ strong economic and fiscal gains,” Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said, adding that the investment grade rating “is another resounding vote of confidence on the Philippines.”
Purisima added that “good governance—tuwid na daan—is bringing structurally sustainable growth for the Philippines” and that “the 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.”
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For his part, Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said the S&P upgrade “undoubtedly cements the Philippines’ status as an economy with one of the brightest prospects globally.”
“With our investment grade rating, we are more confident that these inflows, particularly of more FDIs, will swing towards increasing the country’s productive capacity, thereby generating more employment and higher incomes,” 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.