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PIA Press Release

Palace welcomes 'stable' sovereign rating by Moody's

Manila (31 March) -- Malacanang recently welcomed the Ba3 rating on the country's sovereign debt given last Monday by Moody's Investors Services.

"We can be proud of it and we are happy with it," Deputy Presidential Spokesman Gary Olivar said in a press briefing today.

Although a Ba3 rating is three notches below investment grade, the international credit agency rates the country's ability to pay its short-term foreign debt as "stable". The rating remains unchanged from last July, when Moody's upgraded the country's credit rating in "recognition of the country's resilience to the global economic crisis."

The $160-billion Philippine economy, which Moody's considers as "midrange among rated economies," is one of only four Asian countries, including China, which escaped recession last year, posting a 0.9 percent growth in total goods and services produced in the country or gross domestic product (GDP).

This year, Moody's sees the country's economy to grow at the upper end of the 2.6 percent to 3.6 percent target set by the Arroyo administration.

Olivar projects equally favorable ratings by Standard and Poor's and Fitch Ratings, which both gave the Philippine a BB rating last year.

In its credit analysis, Moody's said the resiliency of the Philippine economy can be attributed to a stable banking sector, the strength of the Philippine peso, and remittances sent by overseas foreign workers (OFWs).

Last year, gross international reserves (GIR) held by the Bangko Sentral stood at $45.3 billion, which is enough to meet at least eight months' worth of imports. OFW remittances stood at $17.3 billion.

Olivar said government continues to improve on efforts to increase revenues to reduce the budget deficit, citing the expanded value added tax (EVAT) legislation, which generated P80 billion in its first full year of implementation in 2007.

Olivar also cited improved efficiencies in the power sector and higher levels in investment spending, particularly in infrastructure. (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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