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Fitch Assigns 'BB' Rating to Philippines' Global Bond

January 09, 2009 | "Fitch Ratings"

Fitch Ratings-Hong Kong/Singapore-09 January 2009: Fitch Ratings has today assigned a Long-term foreign currency rating of 'BB' to the Philippines' 10-year USD1.5bn Global Bond (short first coupon). The transaction was priced at 99.158% to yield 8.500%. The rating is in line with the country's foreign currency IDR of 'BB'.

Fitch has a Stable Outlook on the Philippines' Sovereign ratings (Long-term foreign currency IDR 'BB'/Long-term local currency IDR 'BB+') despite the negative implications of the global economic slowdown on the country. "The Philippines is going to fare reasonably well when compared to some of the other sovereigns rated in the 'BB' category," says Franklin Poon, Director in Fitch's Sovereign group.

The agency forecasts the Philippines' economic growth to decelerate to 2.5% in 2009, and national government budget shortfall to widen to 2.3% of GDP. Remittances from overseas workers, which account for more than 10% of GDP and has been an important driver for both external financing and the overall economy, will also be affected. Fitch expects the country's current account to turn into a small deficit this year, and foreign reserves to decline slightly from last year's USD37.1bn. On a positive note, a stable monetary and exchange rate environment has proved conducive to investor sentiment towards the sovereign's return to international capital markets. Inflation in the Philippines has come down, and the peso has been able to recover some ground against the US dollar recently.

Structural issues, such as interest payments accounting for more than 20% of fiscal revenue, the narrow tax base below 20% of GDP, and a large public debt stock, nevertheless remain. Fiscal flexibility is thus limited. "Fiscal flexibility is especially important in times of economic difficulties, when fiscal stimulation is needed as a buffer against a slowing economy," comments Mr. Poon. The fiscal situation could worsen as the parliament has failed to pass the national budget for 2009. Although the government will not run out of operating funds as it can rely on the re-enacted budget for 2008, the lack of a clear fiscal policy could take a further toll on the economy. "This compares unfavourably to some other countries in the region that have already implemented aggressive fiscal pump-priming," adds Mr. Poon.

Società: Philippines

Nome completo della societàRepublic of the Philippines
Paese di registrazionePhilippines


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