'PH investment grade likely in 6 to 8 months'
MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines may get investment grade status in 6 to 8 months, an investment banker said Tuesday, March 12.
"I'm very positive that the Philippines will get that investment grade. The announcement would likely be 6 to 8 months down the road. What I'm sure is, it will happen this year," First Metro Investment Corp. President Roberto Dispo said during the 2013 Philippines Investment Forum in Makati City.
Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said all numbers pertaining to the country's performance the past years already reflect investment grade status.
"I believe it (credit upgrade) is just a formality," he said. "The market rate are even higher than investment grade. The market has in fact spoken.I believe we are now the most underrated country in the world. Our external debt-to-GDP (gross domestic product) is lower than most developed Asian countries."
The Philippines is ranked one notch below investment grade by the 3 major international credit rating agencies, namely, Standard & Poor's, Moody's and Fitch.
Analysts are bullish the country will get the much-coveted status this year.
British banking giant Barclays and Singapore-based DBS Group earlier predicted the Philippines would receive investment grade in 2013 due to the government's effective debt management.
Former US White House economist and professor Nouriel Roubini also said the country was ready for an upgrade, given the reforms passed by the Aquino government.
"The Philippines should get an upgrade to investment grade in 2013 as its economic, fiscal, financial and policy fundamentals are much improved," Nouriel has said.
An investment grade is a seal of good housekeeping. It signifies a country's creditworthiness and assures investors it is safe to do business in that country.
An investment grade translates to lower interest on government debts, possibly less taxes, and cheaper loans for companies' expansion, all resulting in more jobs, better social services and infrastructure.
The Philippines has received 8th credit rating and outlook upgrades during the Aquino administration. - Rappler.com