A check with the government’s Investor Relations Office (IRO) on Friday last week showed that the visit will be from Aug. 11 to 15, and that the Moody’s representatives will meet with officials of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Department of Finance, National Economic and Development Authority, and Department of Budget and Management, among others, during their stay.
The last time a Moody’s team visited the country to conduct such a review was in July last year, which resulted in the Philippines being upgraded to Baa3 — the lowest investment grade — with a “stable” outlook three months later.
“We hope for an upgrade,” BSP Deputy Governor Diwa C. Guinigundo said in a text message also last Friday when asked on the central bank’s expectations from the visit.
Government officials had also met with Moody’s officials at the sidelines of a non-deal road show in London last month, which the IRO had said yielded “very positive” feedback. The Philippine delegation was led by Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima, who was joined by National Treasurer Rosalia V. de Leon, BSP Assistant Governor Ma. Cyd Tuano-Amador, Insurance Commission chief Emmanuel F. Dooc, as well as Government Service Insurance System President and general manager Robert G. Vergara.
“Moody’s has recently upgraded Peru by two notches, so I am hopeful that developments in the Philippines will also be recognized,” Mr. Purisima had said then.
“I believe the Philippines also exhibits stable macroeconomic fundamentals, strong fiscal performance, and promising legislative reforms.”
BSP’s Ms. Tuano-Amador said she was also hopeful for another upgrade given “very positive… feedback from the investors.”
“[T]here seemed to be wide support for the view that the Philippine economic narrative continues to be one of favorable growth dynamics and broad macroeconomic stability,” she had said then.
Among others, the government officials briefed prospective investors on the Aquino administration’s monetary policy actions given inflation trends, real estate market developments, and external payments developments.
They likewise touted good governance efforts, enhanced citizen participation, financial management, and infrastructure development initiatives, saying these factors would help ensure continuity of economic gains beyond 2016, when the current administration steps down.
The government is targeting economic growth of 6.5-7.5% this year, 7-8% next year and 7.5-8.5% in 2016. In January-March this year, the economy expanded by just 5.7%, easing from the 7.7% recorded in the comparable year-ago period and from the 6.5% seen a quarter earlier.
In May, Standard & Poor’s raised the Philippines’ credit rating to BBB — a notch further into investment grade — with a stable outlook.
Two months earlier, Fitch Ratings had affirmed its BBB- investment grade score and stable outlook for the Philippines, noting that the country continues to be buoyed by strong economic growth, improving finances and governance reforms.
Written by: Daryll Edisonn D. Saclag