Philippines, Indonesia seen as bright spots for global credit

Michelle Ong, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 07 2017 10:22 AM

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Indonesian President Joko Widodo. Reuters

MACTAN ISLAND, Cebu -- The Philippines and Indonesia, with strong economic fundamentals, have bucked a global trend of declining credit ratings, an official of Standard Chartered said.

There are is only one upgrade for every three downgrades of debt ratings and concerns over the Federal Reserve's tightening pace are weighing on the markets, which have barely recovered from recent crises.

"Two governments in ASEAN, are now on positive outlook, meaning there's a chance the rating will go higher -- that's for Indonesia and the Philippines," Standard Chartered Asia head for Public Sector Karby Leggett said.

"In both cases, the rationale for the positive outlook is the general improvement in overall macroeconomic fundamentals, very strong growth, sufficient external buffers and high quality policy-making," he said.

Leggett noted strong demand for the two nations' most recent debt offerings. Infrastructure, however, remains as a pressing challenge, he said.

"The region is firmly in the demographic window, with the entry of plenty skilled labor, which is the basis for strong economic growth in the coming years," he said.

"The question is: how do we enable that population to find jobs, to produce and consume? You will need to make the appropriate level of investment to infrastructure, we need roads, electricity and bridges, transport," he said.