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PIA Press Release

BSP optimistic on the economy

Quezon City (2 April) -- The Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is optimistic the country’s credit rating will improve this year due to improvements in the debt-to-GDP ratios.

As it consolidates its debts and cuts on borrowings, the government expects its debts to go down to 58% of total economic output this year from 65% last year and aims to further reduce the ratio to 52% next year, 46% in 2009 and 41% in 2010.

Representatives of foreign rating companies including Moody’s Investors Service, Fitch Ratings, Inc., Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services (S&P) and Ratings and Investments, Inc., are expected to improve the country’s outlook to positive in the second half of the year from stable at present.

Credit Suisse expects the government’s budget deficit program to be low enough to reduce the country’s debt-to-GDP ratio rapidly and that the government could push for more measures, including the rationalization of tax incentives and indexation of taxes to support the debt-reduction program.

In a related development, The Japan External Trade Organization (Jetro) remains confident the country is still a competitive business destination for Japan despite issues of high cost of labor, telecommunication, electricity and taxes as reflected in the 17th Survey of Investment-Related Cost Comparison in Major Cities and Regions in Asia.

The survey also revealed information and communication technology and automotive sectors remain an enticing investment opportunity for Japanese firms because of the pluses like human resources and lower office space rent despite relatively high basic charges for landline and mobile phones, as well as corporate income taxes.

A total of 269 Japanese firms are now in the Philippines, mostly inside export processing zones engaged in electronics, semiconductors and automotive parts. (PIA) [top]

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