Philippines likely to keep credit ratings despite global downgrades: BSP chief

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 31 2021 10:40 AM | Updated as of May 31 2021 11:00 AM

Philippines likely to keep credit ratings despite global downgrades: BSP chief 1
People who were inoculated with Sinovac COVID19 vaccine prepare to exit the Marikina Sports Center on May 25, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - With a stable outlook, the Philippines is likely to sustain its current credit ratings even for as long as 24 months, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno said Monday.

Debt watcher S&P Global Ratings earlier affirmed the Philippines' investment-grade credit rating of BBB+ with a stable outlook. 

Fitch Ratings in January also affirmed the country's BBB with a stable outlook rating. A BBB rating is considered an investment grade.

Moody's in 2020 kept the Philippines Baa2 rating with a stable rating or one notch above minimum investment grade.

The ratings have defied the global trend since the issuers have implemented a total of 144 downgrades and 153 negative outlooks during the pandemic, BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno told ANC. 

"The Philippines defied that just like last week...For how long, as usual, all 3 major rating agencies have the Philippines in a stable outlook that means the Philippines’ investment-grade credit ratings will remain intact within the rating agencies forecast horizon of 18 to 24 months," Diokno said.

"Given all these, together with the vaccination rollout..I’m confident that the worst is behind us," he added.

The COVID-19 pandemic has dented economic activities globally, putting many countries in recession. The Philippine economy shrank 9.6 percent in 2020, the worst since the end of World War 2.

Diokno also said the government should be given a chance to work on its revised growth target of 6 to 7 percent from 6.5 to 7.5 percent this year.

With a vaccination rollout, there "might be a chance" to achieve this, Diokno said.

Diokno said with the target of inoculating 50 million by the end of the year and 70 million by the first quarter of 2022 there could be "no hard lockdown down the road."

The Philippines has so far fully vaccinated some 1 million people as of May 30.

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