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PH sees no credit downgrade in near term

By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 03:10 AM October 13, 2016

The head of President Duterte’s economic team on Wednesday expressed confidence the top global debt watchers would not be downgrading the country’s credit ratings in the near future.

Separately, S&P Global Ratings raised its 2016 growth forecast for the Philippines to 6.5 percent from 6.1 percent previously following the strong first-half expansion. The country’s chief economist, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia, told reporters he hoped the third-quarter growth figure would be at least 7 percent.

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“Standard and Poor’s already said they will maintain our credit rating [in] at least two years. Fitch and Moody’s gave no indication of a downgrade. I suppose the worst case will be for them to maintain [the country’s investment grade credit ratings],” Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III Wednesday told members of the Commission on Appointments.

While credit ratings are important, Dominguez said the Duterte administration was more focused on its objective to achieve inclusive growth and reduce poverty.

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Dominguez separately told reporters that when he met with the credit-rating agencies on the sidelines of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund’s meetings in Washington  last week, “it seemed they were satisfied we mean business.”

In a report released late Tuesday titled “Asia-Pacific Steadies While China Goes Silent,” S&P noted “Southeast Asian economies are seeing stable growth with the Philippines outperforming the region, given its growing middle class, a business process outsourcing boom, and expansionary fiscal policy with emphasis on public infrastructure.”

While S&P raised its 2016 growth projection for the Philippines, it sees growth slightly slowing to 6.3 percent in 2017 and 6.2 percent in 2018.

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