Slowing remittances key risk to RP-Moody's


Posted at Feb 13 2009 03:00 PM | Updated as of Feb 16 2009 05:21 PM

Growth in the Philippines will likely slow to 2 to 3 percent this year, lower than government forecasts, as remittances from overseas Filipinos decline and dampen consumption, credit rating firm Moody's Investors Service said on Thursday.

The government expects the economy to grow at least 3.7 percent this year after a 4.6 percent expansion in 2008.

Remittances, equivalent to more than a tenth of domestic output, are expected to drop 5 to 10 percent this year as a slowing global economy puts pressure on wages of Filipino workers abroad, Tom Byrne, a Moody's senior vice president told Reuters.

"It's one of the biggest risks," Byrne said.

"It's real important to the balance of payments, to economic growth, to household consumption, even residential investment and also to the stability of the peso, which is a key thing," he said.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas will release tomorrow the remittance data for December.

Moody's affirmed on Thursday its positive outlook on the Philippines' sovereign ratings. It ranks the country's foreign debt at four notches below investment grade.