Aquino: Peso remains in 'comfort' range

By Cathy Rose A. Garcia,

Posted at Jul 18 2012 04:30 PM | Updated as of Jul 19 2012 02:46 AM

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino is not concerned by the Philippine peso's appreciation against the US dollar, saying it still remains in the "comfort range" of P41-44 to the dollar.

There have been concerns that the continued strengthening of the peso against the US dollar in recent weeks will have a negative impact on OFW remittances, tourism and even exports.

"Well, we're still in the comfort range of 41 to 44," Aquino said, in an interview with ANC's Inside Business.

On Wednesday, the Philippine peso rose by as much as 0.4% to 41.57 against the dollar. It closed at 41.68 to the dollar.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) earlier reported the peso appreciated by 4.33% against the US dollar from January to July 2, outperforming other key Asian currencies. The peso's appreciation was attributed to the country's strong economic performance.

Aquino said the Philippines' recent credit rating upgrades has helped the government "stretch" its funds.

"Now, the upgrades really enable us to do more things or basically, in the sense, on the same resources available. For instance, they rate us below investment grade, but we get loans already at par with those that have investment grade status - that lessens the interest payments that we have to make. Therefore the peso stretches that much further," he said.

Standard & Poor's raised the Philippines' long-term foreign currency credit rating to within one rung of investment grade, citing the government's improving finances. It assigned a "BB+" rating with stable outlook, from "BB" with positive outlook.

The full interview with President Aquino will be aired on ANC Inside Business, hosted by Coco Alcuaz, at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday (July 18).