MANILA - Japanese debt watcher Japan Credit Rating Agency affirmed the Philippines' A- rating with a stable outlook despite a backdrop of global uncertainties and elevated inflation, the Department of Finance said in a statement.
JCR released the report on its website on March 10.
"The ratings mainly reflect the country’s high and sustained economic growth performance underpinned by solid domestic demand and its resilience to external shocks supported by an external debt kept low relative to GDP and the accumulation of foreign exchange reserves," JCR said.
"The economy was generally on a recovery path in 2022 backed by strong private consumption as the COVID-19 pandemic subsided, with its real GDP recovering to exceed the pre-pandemic level," it added.
The affirmation confirms the country's strong macroeconomic fundamentals, including its faster-than-anticipated gross domestic product growth of 7.6 percent in 2022, the DOF said in a statement.
An A- credit rating with a stable outlook signals lower credit risks and gave the country access to favorable market rates, the DOF said, adding that it also boosts investor confidence and foreign direct investments.
Aside from Japan Credit Rating Agency, other debt watchers Moody's Investor Services, S&P Global and Fitch Ratings have earlier affirmed investment grade rating for the Philippines with some minor movements in outlook.
The DOF said other signals that prove strong macroeconomic fundamentals include the decline in its debt-to-GDP ratio to 60.9 percent from a high of 63.5 percent in 2022. The global standard is at 60 percent.
“The Marcos administration is committed to maintaining sound macroeconomic fundamentals and achieving its fiscal targets by continuing the course of sound fiscal management. The country's recent structural reforms will also enable the country to withstand the pandemic shocks and map a route to recovery,” Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said.
The government earlier announced its Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2023-2028 which aims to steer the country toward inclusive growth.
During his visit to the New York Stock Exchange, President Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr said the Philippines is aiming to reach the highest investment grade territory.
Economic managers have also said that the Philippines is likely to achieve its goal of becoming an upper-middle-income country by 2024, which could have happened in 2022 if there was no COVID-19 pandemic.