Gov't confident PH will get investment grade next year

Posted at 12/21/2012 7:01 PM | Updated as of 12/22/2012 12:09 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The government is optimistic the Philippines will get investment grade next year, after Standard & Poor's raised its outlook on the country's debt score.

Philippine debts are currently rated just a notch below investment grade by Standard & Poor's and its fellow debt watchers Fitch and Moody's.

Bangko Sentral deputy governor Diwa Gunigundo says an upgrade is long overdue.

"This is something we expect will be followed by an upgrade. If you look at the bond implied ratings, the market has spoken, they are now considering the PH as more than investment grade," he said.

Budget Secretary Butch Abad says an upgrade would further bring down the cost of borrowing and attract more business.

"We expect this upgrade to further reduce our risk profile and bring down the cost of borrowing, as well as lower the cost of doing business in the country," Abad said.

Businessmen, meanwhile, say an actual upgrade merely boosts the confidence that's already there.

"You use that to compare how people expect our performance is relative to the other markets like in the region. I think having that ratings upgrade is something that we should try to achieve for the country," Manuel Tordesillas, CEO of Maybank Kim Eng, said.

Makati Business Club chairman Ramon del Rosario Jr., for his part said, "A seal of good housekeeping is still good to have even if the market has already made up its mind about our investment status."  - ANC